Future Vision Project: Learner Considerations

Maker Kits Vs Maker Spaces 

After attending the Maker Day workshop hosted by my district on Monday I am feeling very excited about implementing a Maker Space in my library. It was presented to us that we should strive to have a maker kit that can be used anywhere. Our instructor warned of the restrictions that a maker space would put on the content driven creating that happens.  She worries that teachers may get excited and create a space that is fun but not promoting a deeper sense of learning with connections to the curriculum.

I have thought long and hard about creating a space in my library but now I am leaning towards creating kits that I can share with the teachers in my school and I will work to teach them how to use the kits in a way that is very user friendly. I want to create a resource that can be used in and out of the library. I want to create a resource that enriches the teacher’s lessons and most importantly will be used!! I don’t want to create kits that will be forgotten about(much like many of the teacher resources collecting dust in our resource room)!!

To start my audience will be the staff at my school and I will present this project to them during a staff meeting. I would like for them to see the power of using maker kits in their library and in their classrooms OR turning our library into their classroom for an afternoon. Secondly,  I will target the students. I will teach them how to use the kits. Our instructor was very wise when she told us that the deepest connections and creativity comes with parameters. If we leave the making too open ended the result could be a disaster and prove too difficult for the students. I want them to be confident in their creating.

Teachers needs : easy to use, engaging materials to support and enrich their students learning. Creating design thinking challenges that will create a deeper understanding to go along with the resources in each kit, project based learning, inquiry projects.

Students needs: easy to use, engaging materials to support and enrich interests, materials that are safe to use in school, tech of some kind, freedom to create within their interests, confidence to use the technology, confidence to create.

In an ideal world, I would have 40-45 minutes with each class and their teachers on their library block and I could teach them how to use the maker kits in a way that enriches their everyday learning. I would show them how to the use the tech (I still haven’t decided the best tech to purchase), how to use low to no tech materials, how to participate in design thinking challenges, how to create their own design challenges.  Perhaps I can run seminars with classes and their teachers weekly?  Ideally, students would be able to learn quickly how to use the resources in the kits and share their learning with their peers/teachers. We know the power of students sharing their learning with peers and the power of our students teaching us something new!

I have been reading content on the following websites about how to implement a space/kit in my library :

Dayton Metro Maker Kit Intro
Starting a Maker Space from scratch
Content Creation
LittleBits
Making the Most of Maker Spaces
Idaho Makers
60 Ideas for Maker Spaces
No Tech Maker Ideas

I will be narrowing down the items I would like to add to my kits.  So far some ideas include:

  • Kinex
  • Tinker Toys
  • Makey Makey
  • LittleBits
  • Sphero
  • straws
  • plastic stacking cups
  • Wood, Plastic pipes, glue guns, zap strapsGrants for STEM Maker Spaces:
    Going to local business to supply items for our kits (Walmart, Vernon Teach and Learn, Canadian Tire, Rona)
    Grant List
    Renovated Learning Grant Ideas

**Update: Today a wonderful woman from our community donated materials to our school. I was lucky enough to be in the office while she was there to donate and scooped up lots of amazing stuff for our maker kits! Lots of fabric, glue, beads, toggles, plastic frames,zippers, yarn,  thread and needles.

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3 thoughts on “Future Vision Project: Learner Considerations

  1. Great blog post that connects a lot of your passion and goals with practical advice and support from your presenter and community donation! Everything seems to be lining up very well for this project and you have a good sense of the best path forward to encourage usage and success. I think the information, reflection and direction you have compiled looks great and will produce an effective addition to your program.

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  2. Katie, I just participated in a one day Maker Space workshop put on by our District. I had SO much fun!
    The one thing I walked away with is that whatever design challenge we give our students, they MUST connect with. Our was that we are faced with an aging population and we need to figure out how to help them, improve their lifestyle and make their lives better. All of us in the room could easily relate this challenge because of having older parents or grand-parents who have daily challenges.
    Students will not buy into the challenge if they have no personal connection to it…
    ** another item to add to your materials list is Lego. I would LOVE to create a Lego wall in my library (but I have very little wall space…)
    Happy making!

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    1. Michelle,

      I know how incredibly inspiring are these workshops!! I just know if adults are getting so engaged with the process and the learning, that students will too. I find that their imagination and creativity are endless when it comes to creating if the students have an interest and connection to their learning. I just saw a Lego wall on Pinterest…how cool!! I am going to hit up Value Village and see if I can’t scrounge up some great bits of lego treasure. Happy making to you as well!

      Like

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