Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making of a High School Makerspace

Our Makerspace - The Liftoff

We've been planning for a makerspace in our high school for over two years. During that time we introduced ideas and gave students a small taste of what was to come. Showcasing some tech on a table outside of our office to initiate interest and exposure.

This year we kicked off the official space and it is definitely a work in progress with challenges and successes.

Here is the space before we began.

We started with limited furniture, limited supplies and a blank canvas. 

To prepare the makerspace, I gathered some tech, went shopping for supplies, up-cycled some furniture and made a plan.

With the help of my co-worker, Jeremy, we assembled 6 stations throughout the makerspace.

#1 A Green Screen Photo Booth Station
with some green screen backgrounds

 #2 A Hack Your Chromebook Name Tag Station

#3 Virtual Reality Headset Station

#4 An Idea Wall (Whiteboard Wall)

#5 A Take Apart Electronics Cart

#6 A BreakoutEDU Station

When implementing this makerspace there are several goals we wanted to achieve:
  • invite teachers and students to look at learning in a non-traditional way
  • incorporate problem solving, critical thinking skills, and the design thinking model
  • give teachers and students exposure to new technologies and trends 
  • allow teachers and students time to explore, create, tinker, and experiment
  • promote teachers and students to use their voice and show involvement in how to use the makerspace
Challenges and Successes:
As we move forward, the challenges will include planning and implementing new stations with current technologies and uses for the makerspace. It takes time, money, planning and creative thinking to keep this space current and interesting. Thankfully we have great support from our leadership.

We also need to think creatively about how to get a high level of involvement from teachers and students.  So far we have had one class use the green screen and a few classes came down to write on the white board wall.  Many students are stopping by to hack their Chromebook name tags, write on the idea wall, work on the BreakoutEDU challenge, explore virtual reality or take apart some electronics when given some time in their schedule.  

It will take time and also many hands on board to get the word out, to provide support and demonstrations and to promote use of the space.  We would also like to get some community involvement.  It will take the efforts of many to make this makerspace a success. 

For now we celebrate the liftoff of this makerspace and continue to capture the moments that make all of our hard work worth it. 
Students show perseverance when trying to open the BreakoutEDU locks.

These two students are very proud of breaking open the BreakoutEDU box and being rewarded with tech swag.

It's wonderful to see students gathering around the hack your Chromie name tag table and sharing creative ideas.

Students didn't hesitate to add their voice to the idea wall. Our prompt was, "What makes East High School great?"

Knowing that BreakoutEDU made the idea wall makes all of the preparations and time it takes to set up the challenge worth it. 

We are so fortunate to have a makerspace in our high school. Our teachers and students can take advantage of having an additional space which fosters creativity, innovation and collaboration with hands on learning and rich technologies. 


Matthew Storz said...

I am glad to see the use of a green screen Deb. If kids are so inclined, there are so many things you can do with one, but usually you are limited by the space of the room. I just helped set up the green screen for Ripon High School this year. Our kids here have been using it for the last two years and have done some really cool projects. Good Luck.

jlkautz said...

Hey Deb,

I wanted to thank you for chronicling this entire adventure. I am so excited to see what the zone becomes over the course of the year and how it will change with the students. We've had some great successes and it's great to see it celebrated. Pretty amazing to think about the possibilities of the entire MakerSpace and I know as a school we have some great ideas and I am sure we can make more of them happen with increased engagement from students, teacher's and the community.

Sincerest admiration,
Jeremy Kautz