This part two in a series of posts related to the creation of a makerspace at Bayside Middle School.
I wrote in an earlier post about the makerspace that’s beginning to grow at my school. When we started the process of getting this going, one of the biggest things we needed to do was educate ourselves on makerspaces. I have some background information about makerspaces, but probably not enough to really get one started. My colleagues were in the same situation. We took it upon ourselves to read articles, find books, and attend events to learn what we could. We connected with other educators. I actually decided to start using Diigo again as a place to collect articles, links, and blog posts about makerspaces. I knew a library media specialist in a neighboring district who received a grant for their own Education Foundation for makerspaces, so I reached out to her for advice. We have a tour scheduled in the near future to visit a makerspace in a nearby district and are continuously looking for more information to make sure what we’re doing is on track to be great for students. I’ve also contacted several friends who I consider experts in the field for some guidance as well. We’ve worked hard to make sure we’re doing what’s been successful in other places. We feel we’re on the right track.
It’s been about 2 weeks since we’ve “opened” our makerspace. Our plan for the future includes converting a computer lab next to the library into our official makerspace, but for now, we are using section of the library as our current space. Fortunately, the library is rather large and we have room. We removed some computers and tables that weren’t being used in the area to free up room. I don’t know the exact measurements, but it’s probably at least a 25 x 30 space. We’ve set up stations with various activities for the students. We have a Keva planks section, a spot for creating a paper roller coaster, computers to use with Makey Makeys, Ozobots, and iPads and Bloxels. We will be rolling out more stuff in the near future, which will surely excite the kids
The kids are loving it! There’s so much excitement in the library and so much action. Granted, this is something totally new to them and I’m sure the buzz will wear off at some point, but there is rarely a time throughout the day when someone isn’t there building, experimenting, or creating. Lunch recess and study halls are very popular times with students rushing in to maximize their time. The thing that excites me is the general enthusiasm of the students. They are making comments about the library being a cool place. They’re saying it’s fun and not boring. They want to be there. If that’s the mindset of the students, I think we’re off to a good start.
Consider this part one in a series of posts related to the creation of a makerspace at Bayside Middle School.
Makerspaces are popping up everywhere. They’re in public libraries. They’re in children’s museums. They’re in schools and school libraries across the country. Now, one is growing in my school library. Last school year, prior to my arrival, the groundwork was being laid for this idea. A very cool green screen studio/podcast room was created and several Lego Mindstorm kits were purchased for use with some of the students. Earlier this fall, the push moved on, with encouragement from district leadership. The district technology specialist, GT teacher, and I met to figure out how to proceed with our interest in a Makerspace. The support of administration was key to us moving forward. We put together a presentation explaining what a makerspace was, why it can be beneficial for students, a potential budget, and what our vision was moving forward. The district leadership team was supportive of the plan and while they didn’t necessarily have an open check book, suggested we look to our Education Foundation for financial support.
We tweaked our presentation, created a cool video (see below), and presented to the the Board of FPBS Education Foundation in early November. After the presentation and many questions, they were on board with the project, but weren’t ready to commit a definite dollar amount just yet. They needed to talk more, but said they would be in contact. After several emails back and forth, we were thrilled to find out they were ready to start supporting the creation of a makerspace with a pretty substantial amount. We were on our way. Now, the fun (and challenging part) begins.
Here’s our splash video that was shared with interested parties.