Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Space for the Makerspace

After hearing for the past couple of years about the great things achieved through school library makerspaces, we decided it was about time Pioneer Middle School got in on this action.

A makerspace is an area where people can come together to work on projects or teach others about something they are good at.  Although a makerspace might sound like a strange addition to the library, it really makes a lot of sense.  Instead of people coming to the library and passively receiving information from the print/digital materials, people can instead create their own knowledge and share what they are learning with other people.  It's a great way to collaborate and also is very relevant to the STEM initiatives taking place at Pioneer.

First, we had to pick an area for the makerspace.  We chose to move the reference shelf over to a new area of the library.  Here is the before picture:

This is the old reference area in the library.  It will soon be our new makerspace!
After the shelving was moved, we were able to see the area that will become the makerspace.  Who knew that there was a nice bulletin board back there?!  I'm sure that this will come in handy when there are some maker projects underway soon.

Here's the after picture with the shelving removed.
We will still need to clean up the new makerspace area prior to use.  At the moment, the table is being occupied by the setup needed for Lego League.  That will soon be put away until next season.  The magazines on the rack will also be relocated.  In its place we will display books about computer programming, robotics, crafts, drawing, origami...basically anything maker-related!

Supplies have been ordered.  We're looking forward to receiving Raspberry Pi programming kits, solar robotic kits, mousebots, spinbots, squishy circuits, and Makey Makey kits.  The makerspace will be stocked with iPads containing many coding apps, such as Kodable, Hopscotch, and Scratch Jr.  In addition, we will be purchasing and asking for donations of duct tape, origami paper, Legos, and other craft supplies.

Once the makerspace is up and running, we intend on making the space available both during and after school.  Students will be able to come to the library in the morning to obtain a "Makerspace Pass" to use during their learning labs, provided that they are caught up with classwork.  We also plan on running after school sessions where students can come in and work on a group project.  It is our hope that these sessions will be run by students, teachers, or other community members.  There are experts all around us!

The beginning of December is the projected start time for the makerspace.  Until then, we will be gathering materials, making plans, and publicizing.  Feel free to offer any suggestions.  We are very excited about this!

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