Guest Post: Thank you to Zale Darnel, and his colleagues, for contributing this guest post.
On September 28, 2015 Princess Margaret Secondary School held a “Maker Space” workshop and it was amazing! Here is our story and some pictures.
With ninety educators in attendance, some from our school and some of our local elementary schools the learning commons was buzzing with people and excitement. What made the day even more fun was that not everyone was familiar with what “Maker Space” meant. As teachers arrived and saw the tools, materials and supplies, you could feel the enthusiasm in the room. This was going to be a hands on day and right away everyone was enthused.
The process started with us forming our groups and looking at our design scenarios. For our challenge we gave the groups a choice of two scenarios, “Mobility in an aging society” and “Food in a cold climate.” We spent the first hour talking design and finding the issues with the problem. This on its own was interesting as different people in the group brought their perspectives and ideas. The teams worked to find the problem and ideas that worked toward solutions and, once a “design” was settled on, the work of “Making” could begin. Each group was given a “kit” with objects that they needed to work into their design as well as access to group materials and a tool station.
This is where the real fun began!! Everyone was so excited and engaged in learning. The learning commons was alive with people moving, creating, cutting, building and just having fun. For two plus hours everyone worked expressing their creative ideas and having a great time. I saw colleagues drilling and cutting that had never use a drill or a saw before, people sitting on the floor building like little kids and people helping each other express their ideas for others to see. I even saw our administrators getting into the fun using a rotary tool and passionately searching for supplies. Everyone was engaged and having fun, we could have worked at “Making” all day, no one wanted to stop! However, as our two hour build time wound down everyone frantically worked to finish their prototypes and make any last minute improvements.
Next came a chance to look at everyone’s creations. I thought the building part was the most fun until I saw what everyone made. WOW–was I amazed! Out of the two scenarios that were given the room was split about 50/50, which made it even cooler to see all the different ideas. We all had a chance to walk around and talk to each group about what they built and why and was I impressed!!! People came up with designs and ideas that I would never have thought of; it was fascinating to see. I found myself absolutely enthralled looking at everything and touching it to see how it all worked. I had so many questions, but I wasn’t the only one. Each “prototype” creation had large crowds gathered around asking questions and commenting on how awesome their ideas were.
As the day finished, several teachers’ commented that it was one of the best professional development days ever! Many even said they could see themselves using the ideas of “Maker Space” in their classrooms. But the best comment I heard at the end of the day was, “I didn’t know this was so much fun, I thought we would be listening to someone else speak or be on computers all day.”
Our Maker day was a huge success! I would like to thank our Pro-D committee, our Administration, the ITA for helping fund the event and Susan and Deb from UBC for presenting and leading the day. We are all looking forward to using the concepts more in our secondary classes and having visits from our local elementary schools to have younger students learn in our maker space as well.
Thank you to everyone who participated and to everyone that made this possible. What a great experience!