Although it’s great to allow students to use their imaginations, they will generally feel overwhelmed if you give them infinite choices. For example, if you say, “Build something out of Legos,” many students will either spend most of their time figuring out what to build or attempt to build something they have already done in the past. So, a couple of years ago I thought I would randomize some Makerspace Building Challenges for my students by using a tool called Flippity. Instead of building “something,” they might be urged to build an amusement park ride or a shelter for a natural disaster, for example. You can find my post on using the tool here.
In this recent post from Laura Fleming, you can find even better Makerspace Challenges using Flippity. Her first version randomly selects building techniques and materials to spark the imagination. Her second version uses S.C.A.M.P.E.R., which is a great innovation tool that I describe a bit more in detail in this blog post. Laura gives full instructions for how to use her Flippity challenges and how to modify them for your own use in her post.
Over the last couple of years, I have written quite a few posts about makerspaces and maker education. Even though I have a “Make!” Pinterest Board, I thought I should gather some of these posts in one place to make them easier to find. So, here are some of the “essentials” I’ve published so far.
The last couple of weeks have provided a few great opportunities for me to learn, and I would like to reflect on them in this week’s blog posts.
My partner-in-crime (actually, I’m generally the victim of her crimes), Angelique Lackey, who is our school’s librarian, submitted our names to present at Region 20’s Library Resource Roundup on a 3d printer curriculum we are using. We were accepted – which meant I got to attend some awesome sessions while nervously waiting for our presentation time near the end of the day.
One of my big interests is makerspaces, and there were some great sessions on these at the conference. I learned how David Gallin-Parisi provides a space in his high school library for students to remix, imagine, and create using Little Bits and the 3D printer (among other things).
I also met Joe Tedesco who works for Northside ISD, a district that is doing some revolutionary things with makerspaces in the library. Joe is very interested in collaborating, and has started a Google Site called, “SA Makerspaces for Education.” (SA is for “San Antonio.”) One idea that Northside is trying is to make “kits” for librarians to check out from their Central Office so costly materials like Little Bits can be rotated around the school for maximum usage. (For more info on makerspaces, check out this Pinterest Board or search my blog.)
At lunch, I had the great honor of sitting with Angelique, Dee Dee Davenport (our district’s Library Services Coordinator) and local author, Jeff Anderson. Jeff has written a book called Zach Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth. It is set in San Antonio, and the main character is a 6th grader. It’s hilarious, and a great suggestion for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans who are ready for a book with less pictures.
Another highlight at lunch was a presentation by Moonbot Studios. Moonbot Studios is the incredible company behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This book, and the imaginative short animation of the story, are two of my favorite resources. A representative from the company came to speak at the conference, and then we were supposed to Skype with the author/illustrators of the book (and many others), William Joyce and Joe Bluhm.
However, a happy accident occurred. We could see, but we couldn’t hear. So, not to be deterred, William Joyce took us on a silent but delightful tour of Moonbot Studios – showing us work they had done as well as works in progress. William Joyce skipped around and hammed for the camera like a young boy, and proudly showed us the Oscar for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
I was so inspired by this wonderful day spent with librarians, authors, and makers! This is the kind of professional development I would gladly participate in on a regular basis 🙂