Edtech Journey of Teaching Makerspace

Makerspace: What is it?

There has been a trend that employers have shared about new hires; their new recruits have difficulties critically thinking, problem solving, and collaborating. Yikes! As an educator, I have noticed similarities in my students. In a world of instant gratification of Amazon same-day shipping, Alexa informing about movie times, and technology so accessible we panic when it’s not immediately near us ( 🙋‍♀️Guilty), these tools help ease the cognitive overload of our everyday lives. However, if the resources available to us have changed, why hasn’t the way we approach teaching?

A Makerspace is a flexible learning environment where users have the opportunity for choice when problem solving, creating, and innovating a solution.

I know you’re probably thinking “Wow, Amanda this is vague”, or “Cool, I’m reading this informative blog post and I’m still not informed!” 😑 Purposefully stated, each Makerspace is unique to their audience’s needs and interests, therefore, your definition will be your own. My example is my own!

About us: Elementary School with approximately 900 students from pre-k through grade 5. 66% of our students are economically disadvantaged, 72% of our students are non-white, and we are currently graded a C.

During a classroom culture study these flag represented some of my students birth countries!

My principal and I are huge proponents of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and as local STEM Innovation Hub School ⚙️, we knew we had to make this a priority for supporting students interests, standard-based instruction, as well as enriching the classroom learning experiences. I immediately knew a Makerspace would be a part of our solution. In preparation, I knew we had to plan and implement this space where students could innovate, create, and make, and fortunately, after presenting my framework for supporting STEM in the Makerspace my administration was completely onboard.

I will write more about my planning phases, orientation, set up, and implementation in later posts… coming soon!

HGE Makerspace is a flexible learning environment where students engage, collaborate, communicate, and critically think about rigorous, open-ended, standard-aligned engineering design challenges.

Create.🎨 Innovate.🤝 Make.🔨

These are our core principles! I maintain the Makerspace and create monthly standard aligned engineering design challenges for each grade level, but classes have the flexibility to come into the Makerspace and create, innovate, and make anything utilizing the supplies and space in their own unique ways.

The journey began as an empty classroom- next door to mine for easier maintenance. Before school let out for summer, we put a bug in our colleague’s ears about collecting recyclables during the summer for this thing called a Makerspace. Upon arriving back in August, our hearts were overwhelmed with happiness as our empty room was completely filled with “junk”! Magical, special, FREE junk which would transform for our students into materials to construct, invent, and create amazing solutions to the standard aligned challenges they were soon to be presented with. 🧻🛍📦🖇✂️🖍✏️

Please see my next installment for Makerspace: The Purpose to find out more about what resources, inspiration, and collaborations took place to plan for the implementation of our flexible learning space!

As a technology integration enthusiast earning the nickname of “Red-headed tech child”, I am confident that my skill set and motivation to create innovative learning experiences will add value to the right company as I am currently searching for the next chapter to grow and have a larger impact as a learning specialist. I am a classroom instructor, Instructional Designer, UX and UI Designer, and edtech evangelist who is passionate about creating and facilitating professional learning opportunities. Through out my journey, I am honored that most people who learn with me would describe me as passionate and knowledgeable. This motivation to foster continuous improvement carries into my roles as a UX/UI Designer and Instructional Designer for U.S. based educational technology companies such as Learnics and MassiveU. Inc where I collaborate with the Director of Learning, and Co-Founder to customize learning experiences and content for their unique audiences. While working with these innovative companies, I have made an impact through: • Contracting to enhance design patterns, layout, and typography with block and custom HTML of the company website resulting in a boost of visits by 132.5% • Conceptualizing job aid and conference materials in Photoshop • Mock up wireframe and style guide • Strategizing eLearning content development, develop learning objectives and activities, research, and script writing, storyboarding, and filming for the instructor’s guides and instructional videos • Orchestrating innovative, blended learning solutions to improve learner’s skill set with a focus to increase participant engagement of tools and pedagogical practices, as well as customize content to meet individual's needs across the United States. • Transforming classroom learning experiences as an Instructional and Technology Leader • Providing diverse core competencies in the area of employee training, instructional design, eLearning development, and technical skills

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