SLJ Post: A Student-Designed Maker Cart

A Student Designed Maker Cart | In an article I wrote for School Library Journal, I describe a powerful collaboration that became the Furniture Challenge, where my students designed a cart for makerspaces, which was later manufactured by CEF>

Note: This post is a brief summary/intro of an article I wrote that appeared in the Septemeber 2017 School Library Journal.  To read the full article, click here. The Furniture Challenge Towards the end of the 2017 school year, I introduced a design challenge to my afterschool Maker’s Club that was one of our best ones … Read more

Why I’m Not-So-Happy With Twitter’s 280 Characters

Why I'm not-so-happy with Twitter's 280 characters | Twitter recently made the switch from 140 to 280 characters. Here's why I think this actually takes away from Twitter's power

Ever since first embracing social media as a tool for professional development, Twitter has been one of my favorites.  Twitter chats played an early role in connecting me with other educators.  I even got my first push to take baby steps towards starting my makerspace from this social network.  I always appreciated the brevity and … Read more

Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17

Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17 | I led a Make Your Own Creature workshop at AASL and it was a blast. Here's how to host one.

(Note: Post contains affiliate links.  Actions taken may result in commissions for Renovated Learning) A Creature Workshop Towards the end of last school year, one of my students came up with one of my favorite design challenges:  Make a creature that does something.  That’s it.  This prompt wins for simplicity and the designs that people come up … Read more

What’s Wrong with a Makerspace in a Box

What's Wrong with a Makerspace in a Box - There is a trend in education of selling "makerspace in a box" programs that are meant to handle the planning of a makerspace for you. The problem with these kits is that they don't involve students in the design process of creating a makerspace.

Today, a vendor tried to sell me a Makerspace in a Box.  I’m not going to say who, because I am not about bashing companies and organizations.  It’s my own personal policy to only mention names of companies or products that I actually support.  And besides, there are a lot of companies out there right … Read more

AASL Post: What You Really Need to Create a Makerspace

AASL Post: What You Really Need to Create a Makerspace | To create a culture of positivity in the maker movement, we need to focus less on the stuff and more on the spirit of MakerEd.

With a changing and growing movement, many are declaring that there are right and wrong ways of doing things. We are getting so hung up on the specifics and our own ideas of what a makerspace SHOULD be, that we’re losing the sight of the big picture. We worry far too much about the stuff. … Read more

The 2017 Stewart Maker Fair: A Unique Showcase of Awesome

The 2017 Stewart Maker Fair: A Unique Showcase of Awesome | At the 2017 Stewart Maker Fair, my students focused less on different guided activities and more on showcasing their best projects. The results were amazing.

2017 was my fourth year of holding a Maker Fair at Stewart Middle Magnet School (see 2016, 2015 and 2014 for the previous ones).  This year, my students had to put together everything for our Maker Fair in an extra short period of time, since the school year ended early.  They rose to the challenge … Read more

Demco Post: 3 Design Challenges for the Low Tech Makerspace

3 Design Challenges for the Low Tech Makerspace : Check out my Demco post to read up on three different design challenges you can do with your students in a low-tech/no-tech makerspace. All are budget friendly and easy to do.

Check out my post on Demco to learn more about design challenges in low tech makerspaces! Many educators have the misconception that makerspace activities always need to involve expensive technology like 3-D printers and circuit kits. But this isn’t true. Students can have amazing learning experiences in makerspaces with low-tech and no-tech tools. Design challenges … Read more

The Creature Challenge: Make a Creature that Does Something

The Creature Challenge: Make a Creature That Does Something: Student created design challenges can be powerful motivators for students. In this student challenge, the Stewart Makers Club used different materials to build creatures that did something.

Design challenges are powerful ways to engage students in making (that’s why I co-wrote a book about them).  Sometimes, I craft the design challenges myself.  But other times, I go to my students and ask them to create their own design challenges.  This one was one of those, and I think it was brilliant: The … Read more