Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Framing the Conversation Around Makerspaces at Create Make Learn Summer Institute

Framing the Conversation Around Makerspaces at Create Make Learn Summer Institute

The 2019 Create Make Learn Summer Institute will be an opportunity to engage in conversations around makerspaces as we create, make, and learn all week.  We'll use the following questions to frame our conversation around creating, making, and learning. 






The earlier conversations on this topic are usually focused around the WHAT questions.     Just exactly WHAT is a maker space?  I was once sitting across the desk from a principal who shared that she  had just googled "makerspaces' during our conversation so she would know what we are talking about.    The term Makerspaces conjures up different images in almost everybody who uses it.  Personally I like to use Space for Creating and Making  as a way to shake preconceptions that come with the term Makerspace.   A makerspace can be many different things to each of us.  It can have all types of tools, supplies, and equipment.   We've traveled to many makerspaces across the country and have yet to find any two alike. 

We have visited many different Makerspaces in our bus, and each of them have different tools and take on different formats.  As we explore WHAT a makerspace can be and WHAT it can have in it,  I hope to introduce  a few different configurations of makerspaces,  each with their own unique sets of tools and supplies.   
We have visited many different Makerspaces in our bus, and each of them have different tools and take on different formats.  This week, each of us can share our experiences with different configurations of makerspaces, each with their own unique sets of tools and supplies. 


Another area that many want to talk about is HOW do people MAKE?  There are so many different ways to approach making. This week, we will explore different types of makes that you might see in a makerspace. This could range from a skill building make to a quirky expression of self.  I look forward to exploring  some of the common types of makes as we share our stories of making and experience creating and making together this week. 



Probably one of the most important questions is the WHY question.  Simon Sinek encourages us to KNOW OUR WHY! And while I agree that knowing your why is one of the most important things you can talk about in the conversation about makerspaces,  it is NOT necessarily the first question you need to find the answers to.  Sometimes you just need to start Making!  And the more you make the more you will be able to articulate your why.  Too many people think that you have to know your why BEFORE you move forward.  I think knowing your why is a process and sometimes you just have to LAUNCH and the clarity about WHY will happen as you reflect on your process.  It's sort of like playing with Legos - sometimes you hands know before your mind knows what it is building.  As we gain clarity about our WHY, we should also consider how we will assess whether we are hitting the target.  This week's institute will include some timely conversations around Assessment and how to approach (or not approach) assessment in our creating, making, and learning process. 



 The WHO questions are not always obvious.  But they are important ones.  Without explicit attention to the WHO questions, you might accidentally end up creating a space that is not inclusive.  Unfortunately that is a challenging condition to remedy.  There are several ways to talk about WHO is making in your makerspace, and making sure that you have someone on your team who wears an equity lens in your conversations about making is helpful.


These conversations are not linear or hierarchal.  So don't expect a recipe or a step by step guide. We'll weave in and out of of these conversations and this framework is meant to to get the gears turning helping to  frame our conversations around making in education.




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