“Makerspaces are collaborative workshops where young people gain practical hands-on experience with new technologies and innovative processes to design and build projects. They provide a flexible environment where learning is made physical by applying science, technology, math, and creativity to solve problems and build things.”
Makerspace Playbook - School Edition, 20131
Through the Media Center at Marietta High School, students are given the opportunity, facility, and equipment to create professional-grade digital media products including websites, instructional videos, and multi-track audio recordings.
Students have access to these tools regardless of their class schedule - we offer the opportunity to all of our students to take a digital camera home regardless of whether or not they're enrolled in a video production course.
Though we're proud of the services we offer to help students with these design projects, we've recently reflected - why should these design opportunities be limited to only digital or two-dimensional output?
What if a student would like to explore 3D-printing, but doesn’t have the opportunity in their schedule to register for our CTAE Engineering course?
Similarly, upon reviewing the list of this year’s MYP candidates’ Personal Projects, many are based on the goal of manufacturing a new “thing” - from a model roller-coaster to a Victorian Corset, a baseball bat, and even an obstacle course for a pet hamster.
Some of our students are fortunate enough to have parents who own or have access to the tools they need to complete these sorts of projects. But what about our students who are not so fortunate? How many of our students envisioned a project they couldn’t realize because they didn’t have access to a 3D-printer, lathe, or serger? How can we level the playing field?
Coincidentally, there's a new initiative on the rise, both in communities, and schools - the "Maker Movement".
Over the last decade, "Makers" throughout the country have organized and established their own "MakerSpaces" - a community facility, open to the public, dedicated to collaborative creation - founded and maintained by donations, dues, and volunteer work.
And now, very recently, the movement is spreading to both public and school libraries. The concept is endorsed by the American Library Association through their “Make it @ Your Library” program in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services2, and MakerSpaces continue to enjoy positive press and promotion by the American Association of School Libraries3.
As Marietta City Schools continues its emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, in addition to recognizing the educational rewards of self-directed, project-based, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, the staff of the MHS Media Center has established Marietta High School’s own MakerSpace.
Our vision is to create a space to host all MHS family members - from the student studying Shakespeare who would like to build a scale model of the Globe, to the U.S. History student who would like to re-create a Civil War soldier’s uniform, as well as the Arts student who would like to develop a touchless, motion-controlled musical instrument. Teachers may also use the MakerSpace to create instructional materials - a World History teacher may re-create an ancient tribal mask, or a math teacher may create their own modular document camera.
Our goal is to offer opportunities as diverse as our patrons’ interests.
So now that we’ve established our MakerSpace, how will we manage the space? Who are the people involved? How will we promote the space? How do we know we’re on the right track?..
Coordinating Space and Time
- students must submit a parent-signed, permission/release form
- all users must complete an orientation prior to beginning work
- five students may work in the space at once (subject to change upon ongoing review)
- students may reserve one block per day, up to two weeks in advance
- reservations are not required if space is available
- users will sign in and out
- by request, the space may be available after normal school hours
- ALL the students and staff at Marietta High School
- Media Center staff will manage and maintain the space
- collaborate with Marietta Makers group
- collaborate with Atlanta Makerspace, Freeside
- establish partnerships with local developers and manufacturers to offer expert-led workshops
Sharing our Vision
- promotional video and information will be posted on the Media Center website
- virtual tour (5 minutes) will be offered to all teachers at one MHS staff meeting
- District press announcement
- Blue Devil News feature
- quarterly open orientation
- ongoing personal orientations
Identifying our Success
- Goal: average 15 user hours per week
- Goal: collaborate with two teachers per month
- Goal: host an exhibit at Atlanta Maker Faire 2015 showcasing 3 student projects consult with teachers of students using the space for assignments
- quality of finished project
- objectives met
- exit interview/evaluation form for users
- what did you learn?
- what would you have done differently?
- did you find you required tools not present?
It’s a big job, but establishing a MakerSpace is a fantastic opportunity to offer new creative and academically enriching experiences to all of our students.
We’re excited to see the Media Center’s MakerSpace encourage the students and staff of Marietta High School to Explore, Create, and Connect, and we look forward to your support.