Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Makerspaces V 1.0

After attending #NJPAECET2 and listening to @Bec_Chirps speak about her use of Makerspace I knew that it was something that I wanted to try. I had some of the materials... in fact I think I had some of the MORE DIFFICULT materials to start with- a few cameras for video creation, some Makey Makey's, a Go Pro camera and various mounts for whatever the students could think of, Tablets and Apps for Photography, LEGO NXT Robots and kits etc. just to name a few. But what I did not have was a complete idea on how to structure the time.

Here was my situation- I see EACH 7th and 8th Grader in my district for a "Trimester" every other day. In other words I have 30 Class periods with each student in the entire building (roughly 600) then they rotate to Art and Music (our other Related Arts Classes). A New challenge from my previous Language Arts position where I had the same 100 students for the entire year. In my classes I have a WIDE variety of students - and this was something that I thought would make it more difficult to establish my #makerspace time, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Here is my current solution - A Blend of a 20% Time/Genius Hour/Passion Project/Makerspace.  As students finished their work for the day or a project that was assigned they had the ability to create something in our space. There were three questions that they had to answer in order to begin -

1. WHY they wanted to do said project? - This would show me their passion
2. HOW they were going to complete the project? - What materials would they need that were not in our Makerspace - What help would they need from me in order to complete the project?
 3. HOW they were going to share the project. Were they going to create a photography website, or an advertisement for a school event, or print a design on our 3D Printer... The end product must be public and visible.

So far I have a student creating a better way to carry ketchup on their french fry basket, a student creating a new tablet holder four our library, multiple photography "fan" sites being created,  students learning how to "Roadmap" our Parrot BeeBop Drone around the campus, NXT Robotic sensor testers ETC.

I can confirm that this time makes a MESS but I have established a sense of community and ownership in our makerspace.  You own what you make and the mess that goes along with it.  More posts to come from my Makerspace/20% Time initiative soon.