Today’s guest blogger is Lauren Taylor, a Family & Consumer Science Teacher at Downingtown High School West. She’s sharing one of her experiences at the International Society of Technology in Education Conference earlier this summer.
by Lauren Taylor
This summer, walking through the halls of the PA Convention Center for the ISTE 2015, I must have asked myself this question a hundred times: “Where do I fit in?”
“What is applicable to what I do?”
Well, there was one concept that made me feel that I had a home: MAKERSPACES!
What is a Makerspace? After some research about what a MakerSpace was I found it to be very familiar. Remember manipulatives? It’s the same idea.
A Makerspace is a place where students can go beneath the surface of learning by having a practical, live, hands-on experience. Students can build, create, experiment, and play with tangible objects. Creating a Makerspace in your classroom or school promotes learning through hands-on experiences.
These days this term seems to focus on the STEM environment but Makerspaces are not limited to 3D printers and models. There are many opportunities for Makerspaces in every grade/subject area in our district.
My FCS classroom is a MakerSpace. I have 6 kitchens that hundreds of high school students cook, create, and experiment in every week. Our curriculum lends itself to hands on learning. It isn’t enough to talk about the nutritional offerings and culinary talents that an egg beholds. It isn’t enough to show a video about making meringue. Students need to whip, beat, fry, poach, bake, and hard boil to understand that there is no food quite like the egg. (I love eggs, does it show?) These experiences bring a depth of knowledge that could not exist with a diagram.
What I took from this session is that technology is not taking away our need for hands-on learning, nor is it replacing it – it is enhancing it! The experience of creating something can be amplified by technology but never replaced. Students can benefit from the balance of technology and actual creation. I encourage you to explore where a MakerSpace can fit into your content area.
To read more about Makerspaces, check out these articles:
- Defining Makerspaces
- 8 Design Steps for an Academic Makerspace
- Fostering Creativity with Makerspaces