Semester two has just begun and the die-hard Help Desk students who have returned for another round are beginning to investigate new concepts and potential projects. Myself and senior Mira Mehdi‘s main project for this semester is the creation of BHS’s first ever Makerspace. As of right now we have the space for the room and just ordered a Makerbot 3D printer which will be the first piece of equipment we add to the space. Our Makerspace is going to be in the room located right next to HelpDesk in the library and this entire project is student driven. The students of Help Desk have been given the freedom to both explore the potential of the room, design it, and collaborate with our teacher to clearly define the mission and purpose of the space. Our plan is to use Google SketchUp to design the room and then work from our drawing to order and construct everything inside it. We hope that by the end of this year we can have a pre-grand opening and next year, new Help Desk students can finish the job and prepare for an official grand opening.
So what are our goals for the Makerspace?
Before the end of this semester, our hope is to have the 3D printer installed and functioning, as well as a green screen and Google Glass. If all of these are accomplished before the semester is over we hope to begin working on the implementation of a Minecraft workshop and explore the potential of Makey Makey Kits. We are also going to use the artwork of BHS students, posters made by Help Desk students with Google Drawings or notability or decorations we find at stores (Ikea here we come!) to give the place some life and color. We feel as though the design of the room is important because that is the aspect of the room that will capture interest and draw people in. We are even contemplating adding a coffee machine into the Makerspace because nothing draws sleepy teenagers into a room faster than caffeine!
Where are we getting our inspiration?
My teacher, Instructional Technology Specialist Jennifer Scheffer has connected with and been inspired by many teachers who have successfully implemented Makerspaces into their schools and is the driving force behind this project. I have been constantly referencing the blogs of Laura Fleming and Diane Rendina and recommend both as examples of what a Makerspace should look like and how it should be used in a school system. A video on the fascinating and creativity invoking Makey Makey kits can be found here and images of our Makerspace inspiration can be seen below.
What is the benefit to a Makerspace at BHS?
We anticipate that a Makerspace at Burlington High School will be extremely beneficial. The activities available in the Makerspace will promote the creativity in BHS students as well as encourage collaboration amongst peers. Not only do the Help Desk students have free reign over the development of the space in terms of design and equipment but we will also play a major role in the Makerspace itself as we plan to instruct and work alongside our friends and classmates so that the entire space is student run. We hope there is a balance in the Makerspace between students exhibiting creative freedom and exhibiting a desire to learn from their peers who already understand the equipment and the purpose of the space.
Below are images which show what our space looks like now. It’s small, but we think it has lots of potential. Our mission for the upcoming weeks will be to take out all of the furniture that is in there now, design the room the way we want in with Google SketchUp and then order and install that furniture. Continue to check my blog and the blog of the BHS Help Desk for updates on our Maker Mission and stay tuned for the opening of our first ever Makerspace later this year.