Monday, November 14, 2016

Maker Updates

Last year I wrote about the J. Turner Hood Schools vision of creating a Makerspace. I am proud to report that this year we will be opening our soon to be named Makerspace.  The design of our Makerspace stems from our schools research on The Maker Movement. The Maker Movement is a technological and creative learning revolution that is underway around the globe. This movement has exciting and vast implications for the world of education. New tools and technology, such as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages are being invented at an unprecedented pace. The Maker Movement creates affordable or even free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem-solvers. Makers are people who like to figure out and fix problems with their hands.  Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager write, in Invent to Learn, that “Maker classrooms are active classrooms. In active classrooms one will find engaged students, often working on multiple projects simultaneously, and teachers unafraid of relinquishing their authoritarian role. The best way to activate your classroom is for your classroom to make something.”

What exactly is a Maker and what happens in the “space?” If you search a thesaurus for the word “make” you will find a plethora of great synonyms: create, cause, assemble, manufacture, achieve, invent, generate, produce, craft, build, construct, or generate. And, that is exactly what happens in a Makerspace. It is an environment where one is only limited by one’s imagination. It is a space that allows for exploration of all of the aspects of STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math–and sprinkles it with imagination for an exploration of “what if.” In the J. Turner Hood Elementary School, our Makerspace in the Computer Room/Maker Center is set to inspire students to become participatory learners to uncover their talents, needs, and interests by making, producing, solving, creating, collaborating and thinking. In this space, the focus will be "real-world problem solving," The Makerspace will allow students to use a variety of materials to build projects that will relate back to  the content in a specific lesson or unit of instruction.

This space is set to officially open soon thanks to the support of our Parent’s Association who have been crucial in the design, setup and funding of this worthwhile endeavor.  One might ask "what are you going to call this space?" I would have to say that I am not sure yet as our amazing students in true maker fashion will be naming the space and creating the logo. Please stay tuned to the Hood School Twitter account for updates regarding this amazing opportunity for our students and staff!

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