Gulf Coast Maker Con 2015

Gulf Coast Maker Con 2015

Gulf Coast Maker Con

Last year, I attended Gulf Coast MakerCon just as our makerspace was gaining momentum.  That was where I first connected with The Hive (then called Community Innovation Center), FreeFab 3D, and Tampa Hackerspace.  This year, I brought my students along and helped to organize the Young Makers section of the event.  Four parents and three students joined me to share about what we’ve been doing at the Stewart Makerspace.  And we got to have some fun too 🙂

Our booth at Gulf Coast Makercon |

Gulf Coast MakerCon is a fantastic annual event in the Tampa Bay area run by Eureka Factory.   It features a variety of booths including local makers, makerspaces, robotics clubs, electric car racing, robot battles, a tech take-apart area (deconstruction zone) and more.

Making buttons at our booth

Making buttons at our booth

Sharing our work

I wanted our booth to focus mostly on interactive activities that visitors both young and old alike could enjoy.  We brought a bin of LEGOs and a large baseplate and saw some neat creations throughout the day.  Our old-school button maker was a hit as invited visitors to decorate their own button (this one was super-popular, and we ran out of supplies half-way through the day).  We also had our Cubelets out, which were a hit with our visitors.

Little LEGO makers at our booth

Little LEGO makers at our booth

It was a lot of fun to see all the little makers at our booth.  I’ve pretty much always worked with middle schoolers, and it was a lot of fun to see how our activities worked for the younger set.  It was also a lot of fun to see how great my students were with the little ones – they did a fantastic job explaining things to them and helping them use the button maker 🙂

Cubelets makers at our booth |

For me, this event was a great networking opportunity too.  I got to meet a TON of local makerspaces I wasn’t aware or hadn’t had a chance to connect with yet, including many public library spaces, schools and colleges.  There was a short makerspace unconference where we all got a chance to meet one another and learn about each other’s spaces.  I’m so excited to see how the Maker Movement is growing in my area, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.


Gulf Coast MakerCon PromoHere’s a great article from Gulf Coast Makers featuring our makerspace.

Have you ever participated in a local Makerfair style event?  What was your experience like?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


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