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Articles: Makerspaces

MOBILE PLATFORM—La Joya ISD’s new mobile tech lab brings ed tech and internet access to low-income students in rural areas.

A custom-made mobile tech lab brings tech and internet access to the neighborhoods of low-income students in La Joya ISD (7,000 students) on Texas’ Mexican border.

Here’s a look at how administrators and their teams are redesigning libraries.

A STEAM learning philosophy is just one of many trends that districts will incorporate more over the next five years, according to the latest New Media Consortium/CoSN Horizon Report,

The new state-of-the-art Asheville Middle School accommodates nearly 800 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, with room to grow.

The latest K12 school designs in classrooms favor versatile and adaptive spaces to support blended and project-based learning, as well as other progressive education techniques.

Today’s educators need versatile products that can be used to teach more than one aspect of STEAM. Schools want to engage students with hands-on activities that, for example, blend art and reading with core science and math instruction.

Experts share strategies on room design, curriculum development and identifying funding sources

Makerspaces reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.

Designing rooms that facilitate access and choice

One day in May 2016, while browsing Twitter, Eric Langhorst stumbled upon a call for participants for the Dremel Idea Builder Ambassador program. Dremel Education, a manufacturer of 3D printers, was looking for 10 educators to use the Idea Builder 3D40 printer in innovative ways in their classrooms.

When STEM3 Academy built its first innovation lab in 2014, one of the first pieces of equipment installed in the space was a 3D printer.

“We saw that it could be a very useful tool to integrate into the curriculum,” says Dr. Ellis Crasnow, director of STEM3 Academy. “We began immediately teaching 3D modeling and using the printer to prototype student designs.”

Albemarle County, Virginia—A snake bit Pam Moran in front of her class on her first day of teaching 40 years ago. Moran, now a superintendent in Virginia, had no one to blame but herself on that fateful day in 1975.

With nearby manufacturing plants struggling to find skilled workers, Desert View High School in Tucson, Arizona, launched a precision manufacturing program in 2012. 

The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.

"Meaningful Making" offers project ideas and assessment strategies for educators interested in the maker movement.

Recommended books offer ideas for makerspace activities, insight into online teaching, a behind-the-scenes look at reform and philanthropy, and methods for teaching steam in elementary school.