What is a Makerspace? Well I'm glad you ask... by definition it is a place where people can work independently or collaboratively to create, build, invent, craft, and learn. Makerspaces vary though and can be as simple as an area where there is a craft table and some Lego to a high tech space with 3D printers and laser cutters. You may hear this type of space referred to as a hackerspace or invention lab or another name referencing a space where people have the opportunity to DIY using a variety of available resources and materials. The big idea is the space should provide opportunity for creation and not just consumption- a place for people to make stuff!
But why? Again, I'm glad you asked as your questions are assisting us in developing a rationale for this space which will in turn assist us in our planning. Makerspaces develop problem solving skills, creativity, collaboration and confidence in students.
That being said, the staff at Portage View are now in the process of determining what this space should look like and how it should be accessed by students at our school.
We have started this process by having three of our staff attend a workshop and then initiating an inquiry related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics). This team of three then made a plan as to how the this plan should be implemented so that student's needs would be met. To begin, materials and resources were needed so orders were placed. The following are a few of the materials we have ordered: Dot and Dash robot, Circuit boards, Makey Makey, and Ozobots.
A number of books have also been added to our library to support students and staff for example: instructional books such as drawing origami, magic, and art books. As the materials have arrived primary students have had the opportunity to explore the various items through challenges presented to them as responses to books that they have heard read aloud to them. Here are just a few examples: the kindergarten students crafted superhero wristbands after hearing the story 'Super Red Riding Hood', the grade one students used Lego to create a park after hearing 'Butterfly Park' by Elly McKay and the grade 3 students used an app to share information they researched on a country in Africa after listening to Alma Fullerton's book called 'In a Cloud of Dust'. As materials are introduced we have been able to establish expectations for their use together with the students.
We are fortunate that our space already includes laptops, ipads, a GoPro camera, iographer kit, green screen, some Lego and some craft supplies.
Hopefully this has provided a little insight into the direction we are taking our library. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. We will also be requesting donations of various materials as we continue to plan and design this space.