Open Exploration in a Makerspace: Best Practices

Open Exploration in a Makerspace: Best Practices // Open exploration time allows students to pursue projects and ideas that interest them. Here's some best practices.

In Open Exploration in a Makerspace: What it is and Why We Need it, I explored why having open exploration time in your makerspace in an important part of the learning ecosystem.  In this post, I dig more into the practical stuff – how to actually make this work in your space. Open Exploration in … Read more

Open Exploration in a Makerspace: What it is and Why We Need It

Open Exploration in a Makerspace: What it is and Why We Need It // Students benefit when they have the opportunity for both structured and unstructured time in makerspace. Here's a look at what open exploration is and why it's important.

Open Exploration in a Makerspace: What it is and Why We Need It In a thriving makerspace, there is a balance.  Design challenges allow students to work together on a similar theme coming from a design prompt.  The challenge creates constraints, but not necessarily structure. Workshops are focused more on learning a specific skill.  Usually … Read more

5 Ways to Get Your Makerspace Ready for a New Year

5 Ways to Get Your Makerspace Ready : A new school year means new opportunities to get your makerspace ready for students. Here's some tips and tricks for sprucing things up and starting the year off strong.

It’s that time of year again – the first days of the school year will soon be upon us (and for some of you, it may already be here).  Getting ready for the year means pre-planning meetings, making photocopies, arranging class schedules and all the other good stuff that comes in August and September every … Read more

How to Choose Books to Support Your Makerspace

How to Choose Books to Support Your Makerspace // Books are an essential part of any makerspace. Here's advice on how to choose the right books for your particular makerspace and school.

Why We Need Books in Makerspaces Books play an essential role in all makerspaces, whether they are in the library or not.  Instructional books can support students in learning complex skills and tools. Project books can give ideas and inspiration for what to make next.  Art books can provide visual inspiration.   Professional development books can … Read more

The Renovated Learning Philosophy of Makerspaces

The Renovated Learning Philosophy of Makerspaces // Putting into words your ideas and philosophy on a particular concept isn't always easy. In this post, I attempt to articulate my own personal philosophy on makerspaces in schools.

Writing a post like this isn’t easy.  I feel like I know in my heart what my philosophy on makerspaces is, but putting it into tangible statements seems harder.  So I started thinking about this more as a manifesto – if I was to make a grand statement about what I feel the value of … Read more

How to Build Creativity (and More ) Through Making

How to Build Creativity (and more) Through Making // The Four C's are a popular trend in education right now. They may be a trend, but they're also valuable skills that students can learn through making - and it doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.

The Four C’s are big in education right now: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication.  We talk constantly about how we need to be teaching our students these skills.   I’m not always a big fan of buzzwords – even though I’ve only been in education for less than a decade, I realize that they come … Read more

How to Run a Recycled Book Art Workshop

How to Run a Recycled Book Art Workshop : A recycled book art workshop is a fun, budget friendly project for any makerspace.

Many educators falsely believe that you can’t start a makerspace without a huge budget.  But some of the best makerspace supplies are free! As part of our new Maker Mondays program, I recently tried out a new activity with my students that went off great.  I only spent around $50 on supplies, most of which … Read more

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