Maker-space Beginnings

Over the years I have run little making sessions in my school library, mostly craft activities based around a theme or event.  We’ve made lots of origami, paper and cardboard creations. These activities have always been popular and last year I also added a free choice LEGO making station. This was a great hit and the children still love to make and display their LEGO creations.

LEGO Creations on display in the library.
Image by author.

These maker-spaces have been transitory, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind for some time to make it more of a permanent space within the library.  I’d also like to add a digital component to the maker-space to provide students with access to coding and robotics so that we can really get into STEAM learning.

– Parents and secondary students helping at the maker-space during National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). Images by author.

Student digital creation made during library workshop on ‘Tayasui Sketches Schools’ for ipads. The photo was taken by the same student.
Image reproduced with permission form author.

This was really brought into focus for me with the LCN600 Connected Learning unit that I am doing as part of the Masters in Teacher-Librarianship through QUT. I decided that this would be my focus for developing a professional learning network (PLN), since I needed to learn more about maker-spaces and how to create and run them effectively in a school library.  

It was time to embark on a learning adventure.

Thanks to some great ideas and advice from other Teacher-Librarian colleagues, and Educational professionals I have put forward proposals to my Principal to establish a variety of maker-spaces within the college library.

To date I have received approval for:

A LEGO wall

Purchase of four Makey Makey’s,

Establishment of a coding club.

A craft makerspace.

To help with the funding for the larger projects like the LEGO wall and the Makey Makey’s I am going to get help from the P&F, with the remainder coming from the library budget.

But where to put the maker-space?

I am starting with the craft maker-space as this will be the easiest and quickest to set up and get going. This year I have unfortunately lost the fixed computers and as a result there is an empty bench area in the library.  It is not all bad, as I still have access to 13 ipads and the empty bench will lend itself to being turned into the craft maker-space. Here I am going to set out craft materials along side of which I will display craft books to stimulate and inspire the children to create. Watch this space and once it is up and running we will see what the students do with it.

Other workshops that I would like to run in this space are: marbled painting; felt making; and paper making.

The bank of fixed computers is now gone. Craft Maker-space moving in soon. Images by author.

Blogs that I have found particularly useful:

The Daring Librarian: Makerspace starter kit. https://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/2015/06/makerspace-starter-kit.html

Tinkering child: http://tinkeringchild.com/

Renovated Learning: http://www.renovatedlearning.com/

4 thoughts on “Maker-space Beginnings

  1. How wonderful that when one door closes (losing the fixed computers) another door opens (gaining a makerspace). Congratulations on your success in getting leadership support!

    I have some questions regarding how the makerspace will work in your library. Will your makerspace be a permanent fixture, open on set days or depend on the project? Will all activities be offered all of the time? How much guidance will be offered to students with tasks?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BJKL, When given lemons we make lemonade. LOL. The makerspace is going to be a permanent fixture and will be open all the time. The amount of activity within the space will depend on which day of the week it is. I’ve had to give set days to the different year levels to give everyone a go, as I cater to P to 12. There will be a set of guidelines regarding the use of the space, expectations, care and clean up that will be displayed in a prominent place. I am wanting to let the children have free creative time, with inspiration being available from a variety of craft books. However, I will run workshops at different times on a variety of craft and digital topics which will help build skills and hopefully inspire the students. During workshops I try to facilitate rather that be the font of all knowledge and utilise and encourage students that already have knowledge to help others. We have had great fun over the last two days with Lunch time workshops on the Tayasui Sketches Schools app for ipads. The kids have made some really interesting creations. Next week we will set a challenge project where the students will take photos of the school grounds and draw spaces that they would want to use.

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  2. Sounds like you are well on your way, Alex! Your students are going to thrive with all these new fixtures and areas to tinker and explore. Do you plan on using these spaces during break times or during lessons? I am curious, as I am currently trying to set up a maker space, I have a room but it can only fit about 10 students at a time so looking for ideas on how to manage it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • Thanks Tonya. Yes I am excited about setting up these spaces in the library. The students will be able to use the makerspace during their breaks but the teachers will also have the option to booking them for classes. I’ve already had interest from teachers in the future LEGO wall for use with consolidation of student learning. My spaces are in the main library as that is all I’ve got (Lost the side library classroom to a secondary staff room) and I can accommodate a full class if they spread out and use the tables. I think that 10 students sounds like a nice size. I would have had about 15 students on ipads for the ‘Tayasui Sketches School’ app today and that kept me busy. They were very keen. I have plans to runs some workshops on felt making, and other crafts in the future. At other times they will be left to their own devices at the craft makerspace so that they are free to use the available books for ideas and let their imaginations run wild.

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