Makerspace Anyone?


A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting our district’s Maker space.  I went in for 2 hours to watch students learn, create and engage in an awesome learning experience.   Our Maker space is located in the library on our Cedar Ridge Intermediate campus (gr 4-6).  Mrs. Matzat, our librarian has spent a ton of time, energy and money to make this space awesome for our students.  It was amazing to watch students learn, create and work at several different stations within the maker space.

Mrs. Matzat started the class with returning library books and checking out new ones.  The students then found their laptop, logged in and watched the video that corresponded to their station (Mrs. Matzat had pre-recorded these lessons and loaded them onto her website).  After they watched their video, they were able to enter the maker space!

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What is a Maker space?

“Maker spaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more. Here are some excellent resources for anyone thinking about setting up a makerspace in their organization” (Kroski, 2014).

Here’s some pics from my observations…


Waving Hand Station – students had to use these circuits and instructions to make their hand wave (see video).

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These students put circuits together to play Happy Birthday and eventually to sing to their teacher whose birthday happened to be the next day!!



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This young man made his airplane fly by using lego online and coding!  Exciting!!





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These students used a program called Scratch to code as well on the computers!


Osmo – Osmo is an educational gaming system that works with your iPad and four game apps to transform the physical space in front of the iPad into a digital game board. The games help increase problem solving, creative thinking, visual, spatial and abstract thinking skills. Compatible with iPad 2 and up and comes with four incredibly fun games: Tangram, Newton, Words, and Masterpiece.

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Students were using the Masterpiece area of the Osmo game.  They took a picture of themselves on the ipad and then it reflected it onto the paper where they drew themselves.


Sphero – this is a ball that is a programmable robot that changes colors, directions, speed, etc.  The students had to program the ball to go a certain distance, change colors and change directions.  Students needed to know quite a bit of science and math to make this work.

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Makey Makey – Check out what a Makey Makey can do by clicking here!

The students had a great time finding objects that would conduct so they could use the makey makey!!

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Playing the drums and the piano with their makey makey!

To top off the day, Mrs. Matzat’s 3D printer was delivered at the end of class!  WOW…what a day!!  Superb learning environment!

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What a week!

As I step back and reflect on this week, I am so excited about the possibilities at Branson!  I started my week finding some resources for classes to use to be able to annotate onto PDF’s.  Read and Write for Google and Kami are 2 new chrome extensions that work great for this!  For that teacher to be able to implement something that fast was amazing!

Tuesday, the high school principal and I went on a site visit to Ozark High School where I was able to see in action the power of technology in every student’s hands and the impact it can have on learning.  Engagement, higher level thinking opportunities and efficiency were results I saw in action.  We also got to take a look at the “tech space” where students and staff help make it all happen!  I am very thankful for colleagues that take time out of their busy day to meet with me/us (thanks Amy)!

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I finished my day meeting with another building’s tech committee, which was engaging and fun!  I’ve had the privilege of meeting with several buildings tech committees and am so excited about the possibilities for professional development for our staff this year.  As we plan for specific, relevant and important PD, I am thankful for teachers who are ready to help make it happen and principals giving it the time it needs/deserves!

Thursday I visited a 5th grade classroom to observe digital readers and writers notebooks and the lesson that was taught!  Students were engaged and had some amazing work!  They were so excited to share their stories with me.  It was also great to see the teacher engaged digitally and physically with her students as they worked in groups.  Bonus: I got an email from one of them during the class (when they were allowed to use email) as well!  Good stuff!!

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Friday may have been the highlight of my week though as I got to meet and participate in a workshop with Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger)!  I was planning to see him in November and was informed he was coming to Spokane, MO earlier and decided to make it happen!  I have followed him on Twitter for a while and am currently reading his book Digital Leadership!  He was phenomenal and I sat there shaking my head for most of the day agreeing with many of his ideas and thoughts!  (He encouraged us all to start ‘that blog we’ve been putting off’ as well…)

2 questions resonated with me from his talk…1) are your students prepared for THEIR world? and 2)  how do you define digital leadership?

This video describes an “active learner.”  I love her statement of  “my school has to keep up with me!”  Another example is this painting image….it begs the question, if the top image is school and the bottom image is life, are we preparing our students for THEIR world/life?   I know the Branson School District will continue to give students the opportunity to dream big, be themselves and be prepared for life!

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Digital Leadership – what does it mean to you?  I like these 7 pillars…

digital leadership


Wow…what a week!  Lots of things to think about….thanks for reading!