As teachers we must ignite curiosity, embrace creativity, and inspire students to identify their passions and believe in themselves.” (edhq.co/2otQZmE)
The Maker Movement is not new; indeed, as a child growing up in the ’60s I was obsessed with Revell plastic airplane kits.
But makers are not just hobbyists, they are now much more than that.
Some trace the birth of making to the launch of Make magazine in 2005.
Significantly, Google Trends has shown a 400 per cent increase over the past two years in the search term “makerspace”.
A purpose-built, fully resourced makerspace can cost a lot. But, what if you wanted to start making on a restricted budget?
Some mistakenly believe that making is a technology-driven activity that cannot succeed without 3D printers, robotics kits and high-cost drones.
Well, that’s … wrong!
Yes, making can be driven by technology, but in its purest form it is a response to our obsession with high-tech, high-cost devices and gadgets.
In my own school, our first makerspace was mobile and we utilised an old wooden library trolley.
We did not have the gadgetry but rather paper, cardboard, Styrofoam, PVC piping, CD cases, masking tape, wooden skewers and bags of marshmallows.
If you’re wondering why, well, as Eric Chagala points out in this tweet: “You don’t need fancy to make AWESOME for kids. You need stuff for kids to wrap their imaginations around.” (@ DrChagala, February 12, 2017)
As for what you might make with that odd assortment of bits and pieces, you should visit my ‘Makerspace Starter Projects’ playlist on YouTube. (bit.ly/2nqIF4q)
Of course, the internet is brimming with resources to support making in your classroom.
If I had to choose a place to start makerspaces.com is one site I could not go past.
It provides free eBooks, project plans, shopping lists and more.
Then, you should also visit Renovated Learning.
If your school does provide you with money to spend, you might want to consider a hot gadget such as a Makey Makey kit, or a Sphero, but I’d look elsewhere first.
How about a great book like Colleen and Aaron Graves’ The Big Book of Maker Space Projects?
Or if you have no money at all, remember students also enjoy “unmaking and upcycling.”
So, raid your IT department for those old items that were destined for the bin. For me, making is the “great democratiser”.
It takes no account of academic standing but it certainly builds social skills, problem solving ability and perseverance.
Students can make to play, to innovate, to show their learning or to become fledgling entrepreneurs.
Whatever the purpose, you can get them started now and all it will cost is your time and energy.