Makerspace Resources for Teachers and Students

"There are no rules here--we're trying to accomplish something." – Thomas Edison

What is a Makerspace?
My guess is that most people reading this post have some idea about what a makerspace is, so I won't spend too much time describing the spaces.
That being said, I recently rediscovered a post from one of my favorite blogs. This post reenergized my exploration of the makerspace movement and is the primary reason I am writing this post today.

Jennifer Gonzalez shares John Spencer's definition of a makerspace.
“I see a makerspace as simply a space designed and dedicated to hands-on creativity,” he explains, “and the key thing there is they’re actually making something. Creativity is sometimes idea generation, it’s sometimes problem-solving. But (in) a makerspace, you’re actually going to create some kind of product. Now it could be a digital product. It could be a physical product. But there is an actual product, so you’re not going to, say, design an event or a service project. That’s not what a makerspace is for, so it’s a space devoted to and differentiated and set up for making.” - John Spencer
I like John's definition, but I know it is not the only way to look at the goals of a makerspace. I believe a Makerspace is what you make of it. Pun intended? I don't think there should be rules to what is and what isn't a makerspace if learning is happening. I've seen too many posts, with too many different opinions to ever tell anyone what a makerspace should or shouldn't be.

Why Makerspaces?
If you've been reading my blog you know that I am always curious about the 4 Cs connected to teaching and learning. For me, makerspaces provide students with opportunities to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and create. The best makerspaces are all about student choice and student voice. I love opportunities for students to own their learning experiences, and makerspaces are great places for curious self-directed exploration.

Want To Learn More About Makerspaces?
I am by no means an expert on makespaces, but I love the potential that these spaces have to engage students. Here are some of the resources I've discovered as I've explored the Maker Movement. I apologize in advance if there is too much here. When I fall down a rabbit hole of exploration, it is usually a very deep one.

Social Connections to Learn More About Makerspaces
Web Resources and Posts Connected to the Makerspace Movement
Videos Connected to the Makerspace Movement
Some of  the Tools and Resources Often Connected to School Makerspaces
Funding for Maker Tools
  • School / District Grants
  • Local and National Educational Organizations
  • Private Organizations
Makers Outside of Schools
What ideas or resources connected to makerspaces can you share in the comments below?

Engaging Learners with Video

Video in the classroom is not a new thing, but it is evolving as an essential resource for all learners. If you were born before 1980 you've probably experienced at least one classroom documentary on a film strip with an awesome and noisy Film Strip Projector. I know I was always excited to see the film projector and reels in the room, but when I reflect on my these learning experiences I realize that most of these documentaries did very little to engage me as a learner.

Video in the classroom has evolved. Today, classroom video is all about engagement and critical thinking. Students and teachers are creating content and actively engaging in videos using a variety of strategies and tools. Video has become a great medium for Creative Student Voice. I was inspired to dive deeper into my exploration of video in the classroom after exploring some of Common Sense Education's Video in the Classroom Resources.

I have also been looking to incorporate the ISTE standards as part of my teaching and learning foundations. There are some direct connections to video in some of the ISTE Standards.

ISTE Standards for Students - Creative Communicator
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
ISTE Standards for Students - Knowledge Constructor
Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
ISTE Standards for Educators - Learner
Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
ISTE Standards for Educators - Designer
Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
Learn More: ISTE

When I think about using video to engage students I usually start by considering one of two categories: Creation and Exploration. Students and educators can create videos as part of the learning process. Exploring videos connected to concepts and skills can serve as a lesson hook, part of the body of a lesson, or as a way to reinforce or review key concepts. Mixing videos in with text and images are also great ways to differentiate the learning experience. 

Favorite Video Creation Resources
  • Adobe Spark Video - Create photo stories with voice-overs and music
  • Flipgrid - Video discussion platform
  • Recap - Video discussion platform
  • Screencastify - Screen recorder extension for Chrome
  • WeVideo - Full featured video creation, editing, and screen-casting resource
Favorite Video Exploration Resources
  • ClassHook - Popular clips from TV shows and movies
  • Edpuzzle - Interactive video engagement resource
  • PlayPosit - Interactive video engagement resource
  • TEDEd - Customized video lessons
  • TED Talks - Collection of talks from expert speakers
  • YouTube - Playlists and channels connected to anything and everything. 
Learn More -Additional Resources

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