Guest blog post by Jeannine Shields, Learning Ambassador
You may have heard educators and creative folks discussing the #MakerMovement and the establishment of #makerspaces. What is a makerspace? It is a place for people to share resources, materials, and ideas to collaborate on projects together. Harnessing the power of this movement can enhance any classroom. There is an old Chinese proverb, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Letting our students approach a problem with trial and error embraced while problem solving will create lasting memories and much deeper understandings.
But I can’t afford a 3D printer!? That’s okay. Not every classroom can. The Maker Movement is not just 3D design through a printer. Students can create in 3D using clay, paper, pipe cleaners, pasta and so much more. Unleash their creativity. Three-dimensional merely refers to having a length, breadth, and depth. This can be accomplished through many inexpensive options. A 3D printer is fantastic, but please do not feel that you can’t begin without one.
There are many digital tools that can help us support the needs of our students as they explore solutions for the issues around them. Perhaps students can plan out a future garden’s layout using Google Drawing, re-design a classroom with RealTimeBoard, edit photographs with Pixlr Express, create dynamic posters to mobilize thinkers to action, inspire through images and videos using Adobe Spark and more.
To build a makerspace in your school or classroom one does not have to designate a lot of room to the task. Speak to your building administration. Maybe they have an idea for repurposing an old closet, alcove, or other area. If physical space is unavailable, you can designate a small area right inside your classroom. Use a bucket, tote, or even an upcycled cardboard box. Anywhere students and teachers can curate materials (markers, scrap paper, glue, scissors, pipe cleaners, any “found” items can be upcycled into wonderful projects).
Atomic Learning offers several modules to help you begin your journey. Here are two resources to facilitate your path:
Jeannine spends her days providing Instructional Technology resources, advice, and assistance to staff in a local school district in Westchester County, New York. Every day she has a new adventure and a new chance to make a difference in educational technology. She enjoys working with the staff and the challenge of finding new resources, solving problems, and providing content-rich engaging learning opportunities for students and teachers.