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Maker's Space

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BLUEPRINT. Mobile Maker Spaces. The production cart includes a tripod with iPad Pro mount, a piano keyboard, professional lighting, mics, headphones, and various items to help students produce movies, videos, and podcasts.

Mobile Maker Spaces

The concept was pretty straightforward, but the logistics were a bit complicated. We wanted to create four mobile maker space carts that could rotate among four middle school libraries in the Knox County School district of Knoxville, TN. It all started when our director of instructional technology, Theresa Nixon, encouraged us to apply for a TeacherPreneur Grant to fund a traveling maker space program. Our funding goal was approximately $50,000. Requesting this much money meant that we needed a an idea that dazzled. Our Makerspace Journey. Our Makerspace has changed, grown and evolved since it was first conceived and started in January 2014.

Our Makerspace Journey

Follow along with the story of our journey here. Hopefully it will inspire you to start your own Maker journey January 2014: It was around this time that I first began to learn about Makerspaces and the Maker Education Movement. Starting a School Makerspace from Scratch. School Libraries and Makerspaces: Can They Coexist? More and more schools are coming to value maker education and exploring ways to create makerspaces in their schools.

School Libraries and Makerspaces: Can They Coexist?

Many schools are discussing how they might utilize their library to facilitate this. As my school has increased our commitment to constructionist learning and maker education over the last few years, we have done so in close collaboration with our school library. In exploring the relationship between the school library and school makerspace, it's not difficult to see why conversations about the growth of makerspaces are often tied to the conversation about the future of libraries. Both makerspaces and libraries are constructivist learning spaces that share a number of common goals, while approaching them in different ways and through very different material resources. Similar Yet Distinct Makerspaces and libraries are sites of informal learning. A Librarian’s Guide to OER in the Maker Space. Dynamic, living, breathing, current, personalized, adaptive, engaging, creative, cutting-edge, and current are just some of the words that have been used to describe the open educational resources (OER) movement.

A Librarian’s Guide to OER in the Maker Space

The U.S. Department of Education recently expanded its efforts to increase schools’ access to high-quality, openly licensed learning resources, giving educators more access to technology to personalize learning for their students. “Hatch” Library Maker Space in a Mall Draws DIYers, Students, and Entrepreneurs. A lightbox in the mall explains what Hatch is about.

“Hatch” Library Maker Space in a Mall Draws DIYers, Students, and Entrepreneurs

Photo by Sarah Bayliss It’s a Tuesday evening and the Watertown (MA) Free Public Library’s (WFPL) maker space, Hatch, is humming. Volunteer Steve Small is demonstrating a 3-D printer and directing a steady stream of people toward the 3-D design class across the hall. A group of children dash in and head toward the bins of craft materials. In the back room, two men and a woman set up their laptops at a work table between the soldering station and the sewing machine. Located near the Dunkin’ Donuts in the town’s Arsenal Project Mall, Hatch, which had a soft launch in October 2014 and a grand opening in January 2015, supplies tools and materials to help users create a variety of projects from handmade to high tech. Kids in creation mode at Hatch. ARMing a Breadboard — Everyone Should Program an ARM. Evolution of a Maker Space, From “Monstie Stuffie” Projects to a Giant Catapult. LittleBits activities at the circulation desk in Colleen Graves’s school library.

Evolution of a Maker Space, From “Monstie Stuffie” Projects to a Giant Catapult

Craft Work: the value of making by hand. Photo from iStock/Thinkstock Youth services librarians in public and school libraries have long relied on arts and crafts as a staple of storytimes and other programming.

Craft Work: the value of making by hand

These activities keep kids engaged, help develop fine motor skills, and are usually pretty fun. Crafting in groups adds a deeper dimension. Just like the quilting bees of old, a knitting or other handcraft group brings people together to share what they know. Coding Skills Empower Us All. Illustration by Marco Goran Romano We’ve all seen the hashtags: #code, #coding, #HourofCode, #LearnToCode, #programming.

Coding Skills Empower Us All

Code is trending in education. So is the pushback against it. For every proponent of computer progamming in schools, there’s a skeptic who asks whether or not we really need to teach everyone to code. Some other questions from the skeptic: Where does code fit in the school day and a traditional curriculum? We’re not coding in schools to make sure every kid gets a job in technology; we’re doing so to give all kids the chance to understand and interact with the technologies—including the social ones—in their lives. New Ideas for Better STEAM Programs. It was full STEAM ahead during the third week of SLJ’s online Maker Workshop.

New Ideas for Better STEAM Programs

The lively group of public and school librarians (and Twitter followers using the #LTCmaker hashtag) heard from two leaders in the initiative to add art to STEM-based maker spaces, aka STEAM. Allison Vannatta of littleBits’ global education team shared news of their innovative electronic module kits. She was followed by Arapahoe (CO) Library District Supervisor of tech experience and digital services Nick Taylor revealing the latest development in his maker space realm.

Open hardware ingenuity draws younger kids Back in 2011, MIT Media Lab alum Ayah Bdeir had an idea. The result was littleBits, a line of DIY electronics lessons that encourage young tinkerers design and prototype an amazing range of inventions. Make It Universal. Toy hacking during a DIYAbility workshop.

Make It Universal

Jim Tiffin was at an Edcamp STEAM in New Jersey a few years ago when he came across a session called Toy Hacks. A group of people were manipulating battery-operated toys. They were taking them apart, identifying the controls and switches inside, soldering an extra switch to each, and putting the toy back together. That way, kids with limited mobility could play with the toys.

A Thematic Approach to Planning Your Maker Space. When schools talk about the Maker Movement and creating maker spaces, they often focus their initial thinking on purchasing the tools and materials. This resource-driven approach can create a buzz in your school for some time; however, that excitement will inevitably fade. While resources are an important part of any maker space, taking a thematic planning approach is much more effective. Sphero Goes Crystal Clear with SPRK, a New Version of the Programmable Robot. Anyone who has played with a Sphero—one of the maker movement’s robotic darlings—has surely wondered what was inside. To bystanders, the programmable ball might appear to have a life of its own, but a series of mechanisms help the electronic ball to turn, flash, even flip along the course specified through its suite of apps. The new 2.0 version, the SPRK, lets users peek inside the previously opaque shell to see the gears and circuits driving its motions.

SPRK extends the gadget’s learning potential through command-line access to a range of scripts, which promise to help fledgling coders hone their skills by spelling out exactly what will trigger an action and what form that action will take. The SPRK has a transparent polycarbonate shell, but proves every bit as resilient as the 2.0 hardware. Like the earlier Sphero, it uses induction rather than plug-in charging.