If you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world.

We have developing interest from the community in our fab lab–individuals and organizations wanting to partner with us to expand learning opportunities for students both locally and globally.  It’s exciting to be a part of a movement that is growing opportunities for children to discover knowledge through making.

When visitors come to our makerspace, they are often interested to know how the space came to be.  The answer in brief:

  • passion and commitment on the part of educators
  • high levels of student involvement and engagement
  • the space is still becoming what it is and always will be

The development of our fab is about much more than creating a space for making.  It is about promoting a school-wide “disposition of curiosity”-to quote Megan Blakemore, librarian extraordinaire.  It’s a shift in paradigm because often the students know more and/or have more confidence than we do with the concepts and tools that are available for learning.

And we have to be okay with that.

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Growth in the making mindset in a school requires instruction and support for teachers as much as students.  Staff meeting time is dedicated to tinkering and collaborative making experiences.  Read aloud literature with themes related to innovation, perseverance and failing forward are shared with all classrooms.  Library, technology and administrative staff work closely with teachers to develop ideas that link design thinking and inquiry to curriculum.  This model of instruction involves tapping into the knowledge and skills of staff throughout the building.  We don’t do it alone.

And we have to be okay with that.

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A favorite fab lab anecdote from recent weeks:

The principal works on outreach to the community to find individuals interested in being Visiting Makers to demonstrate making skills for students.  One day, three third grade boys request a meeting with her to share a Google slide presentation that they have created explaining why they should be Visiting Makers.  “We want to teach kids to safely take things apart.”  These learners recognize that they have knowledge and expertise and want to share it with the school community. The students are making the makerspace vision evolve.

And we are okay with that.

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