16 June 2016

#UENmakers - #100DayProject - Day 076

I spent the last two days in a training on Makerspaces and the Maker movement. Not only was I part of the training, I was asked to help out with the instruction, a little strange considering my lack of experience in a Maker classroom. Although, throughout the training, I realized just what it means to be involved with the Maker scene and how close I already was to using many of the ideas in my own room.

My pal Jared Covili from Utah Education Network (UEN) was the instructor tasked with helping the participants to see what they might need to get a Makerspace started in their own classrooms and/or schools. And while we did many great modules and activities, the main thing I took away is that a successful Makerspace doesn't need all the tech and tools, but is more about the mindset we help our students to establish. Don't get me wrong, we did some awesome activities involving Hour of Code, Sphero, Dash and Dot, Makey Makey, Little Bits, Arduino, and others, the main idea was to help our students regain that spark of excitement that too often times is lost within the very walls of established educational buildings.

So how do we help our students regain their love of learning and their creative spark? We need to make sure and allow time for creativity to flow. We need to quit being so focused on the pre-arranged lessons and more on the Genius Hour or 20% Time type of activities. The more we can find ways to shift the control of the classroom back into the hands of our students the better. We need to allow for creativity and the subsequent mistakes that will be made.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite books for creativity called Rosy Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and the struggle Rosie has to get back into creating and building after she's laughed at and embarrassed. Are we helping to build the confidence of our students, or are we part of the problem of laughing at or extinguishing their creative fires? Take time to see where you fit in the story. Hopefully, we can all be the uplifting and positive role that students actually need. Here's to more positivity and greater creativity.

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