“Makers” in New Kent County Public Schools
Have you heard about Maker Spaces and the Maker movement? They are popping up all over Virginia, including here in New Kent County. A very popular educator, Vicki Davis, has described it as “ ... a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship. Certainly, learning by doing or "making" has been happening since our ancestors refined the wheel” Her article outlines the research that supports the trend. Simply put, students(and adults) implement 21st Century Skills when they make something.
As one New Kent County Student describes what “making” means to her:
“...one of my favorite things is to build and create things. Whenever I build things, I feel like I am my own person and nobody can tell me what to do. One of the things I think is cool is that I get to design exactly what I want something to look like.I enjoy building furniture and items for my room and decorations for my locker. I have found that when I build something and it doesn’t work, I may have to take it apart and rebuild it until it works just the way I want. For example, when I tried to build a chair, it kept falling apart. I took it down, used other materials and designed it another way. I just keep trying different things until it works.
Some of the things I’ve made for my locker were not staying in place, so I needed to use stronger magnets. I designed a rainbow fringe feature for the top shelf of my locker this year, and I found that embroidery thread, duct tape and magnets did the job Of course, I needed to use the right strength magnets to hold it all in place.
I celebrate when I’ve completed a project and the design works! I’m really proud of myself when a new design comes together. When I get tired of one design, I can pull it all down and start over fresh – with new ideas and challenges to overcome. The best thing is that I get to use the design when I’m done with it!”
A maker space can be established in school or outside of school. With the 2014-2015 School year, Mrs. Noctor, the librarian at George Watkins Elementary School is getting ready to have a small makerspace in the library. The students will be able to get creative while in the library, which is a a good place for a maker space with so many resources available for inspiration.
The hot item to include in a makerspace is a 3D printer.
Mr. O’Rear in New Kent High School used the Donor’s Choose website to receive funding for the 3D printer. The printer chosen was the MakerBot Replicator 2 for its versatility and ease of use. Students will be using various CAD software to design a number of projects throughout the course.
Do you want to see what the Maker Movement is about? The next makerfaire in Virginia is happening on October 4,2014 in Charlottesville, VA. Get Tickets now!
If you can not “make” it to the makerfaire check out Makezine.com to explore the “maker” in you.