Many more schools now have a makerspace, yet educators are still looking for guidance in connecting the projects, tools, and technologies to classroom curriculum.
Design thinking principles are one way to make those connections and engage students in STEAM-driven creativity along the way, says Erin Barringer, an instructional technology facilitator at Jesse C. Carson High School in North Carolina, who will present “Techifying Design: The Makerspace Reimagined” at the Future of Education Technology® Conference in New Orleans next week.
Barringer will share ideas for how educators can transform unused office space, closets, or other rooms into design labs aimed at inclusion, differentiation, and equity. One key is to provide students with podcasting booths, DSLR cameras, Robotics kits, green screens, sewing and Cricut machines, and other tools to which they might not otherwise have access. This will help foster their love for inquiry and problem-based learning, she says.
But Barringer’s presentation is only one of many workshops and sessions at this year’s FETC that will cover the construction and improvement of K12 makerspaces. “Ten Years of Making: What is Next?“—a semi-exclusive FETC workshop—presenters Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager will celebrate a decade of maker-movement ingenuity in schools and how emerging technologies will help educators further integrate makerspaces into their curriculums.
“Turning every classroom into a makerspace and every child into a maker is the path to creating truly personal learning for every student,” Martinez and Stager say.
Much ado about makerspaces
Here’s a rundown of the sessions on makerspaces:
- “Moving Beyond Tinkering: Designing Content-Based Makerspace Lessons“: Attendees will learn a step-by-step framework for designing content-based and rigorous makerspace lessons, paying close attention to evidence of student success and data. Mon., Jan. 23, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Presenters: Samantha Duchscherer, Project Lead The Way grant coordinator, Techforyall LLC; and Courtney Reaves, a STEM teacher at J.A. Fair Prep K-8 school in Arkansas.
- “Makerspaces that Demolish the Digital Divide“: The widening digital divide continues to drive inequity in STEM fields and, as a result, “digital racism” pervades search algorithms, technological devices, and all facets of the internet. Learn how makerspaces provide an opportunity to pique student curiosity and increase comfort with technologies, computer programming, and BIPOC STEM identity and belonging. Weds., Jan. 25, 2-2:45 p.m. Presenters: A four-person team of educators from the Gilman School in Baltimore.
- “Bring Literacy To Life Through Making & Technology 2023 Edition“: Librarians and teachers cultivate amazing places in libraries and classrooms for experienced-based creativity, STEAM activities, Makerspaces and meaningful opportunities to use technology. Learn how literacy—such as picture and chapter books, nonfiction, graphic novels, audiobooks, podcasts, and eBooks—fits into the makerspace experience. Weds., Jan. 25, 3-3:45 p.m. Presenter: Shannon McClintock Miller, Future Ready spokesperson at Future Ready.
The following sessions are part of FETC’s “Makerspaces, Robotics, Drones & 3D: Leadership Roundtables,” from 10-10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
- “Makerspaces & Career Labs: Creating K- 12 Innovative Connections“: Sulphur Springs Elementary School, a Title building in Tennessee, transformed its traditional model into a school of innovation, expanding from one makerspace to a school-wide initiative where teachers have expertise in coding, robotics, digital arts, and STEM labs. Presenters: David Little, principal, Sulphur Springs Elementary School; Ginger Christian, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy analysis, East Tennessee State University.
- “What?s Next for Your Makerspace? Five Ways Forward“: Explore five ways that makerspaces can support school, community, and even global missions. These include: Skunk Works, The Entrepreneur Zone, Maker Library, Green Power, and Community Chest. Presenter: Sylvia Martinez, author, Invent to Learn.
- “Techifying Design: The Makerspace Reimagined“: Here’s how educators can transform unused office space, closets, or other rooms into design labs aimed at inclusion, differentiation and equity. One key is to provide students with podcasting booths, DSLR cameras, Robotics kits, green screens, sewing and Cricut machines, and other tools to which they might not otherwise have access. Presenter: Erin Barringer, an instructional technology facilitator at Jesse C. Carson High School in North Carolina.