When students make and create they are proud of what they make. They feel good about what they make. Questions that come to mind are how much of school work actually makes kids feel this way? How can I have kids do more work like that?
Andrew Goodin is a makerspace teacher at Grand Center Arts Academy and has been for the last three years. From the beginning Andrew had students design and create working solutions to real problems by using the D School Design Thinking Process. He models design thinking in the makerspace by using it to continually improve the learning opportunities available. The results with students are impressive and Andrew has set up a fantastic example of what a makerspace is capable of in a school setting.
He started out discussing teaching with teachers and about how to make it better. They started with a problem. Kids needed computers in Andrew’s chemistry class. Mastercard donated some computers and Andrew and his teacher friend Greg started a group called Tech Army after school. This was a group of kids passionate about technology. Kids gained a few skill in repairing hardware and loading software and were able to get computers up and running in Andrew’s class within three months. He then began to question how he could engage kids in more learning like this.
This led to the next pilot program of makerspace at Grand Center Arts Academy in 2011. It started small on Fridays only for one semester. Their budget was $100 for the entire year. They made good friends with people who could give them resources and consumable material very quickly. It was low tech
The following year in 2012 Andrew was hired on to do makerspace full time at Grand Center Arts academy.
What does a typical day look like?
Makerspace is now a hybrid at GCA. Andrew has more formal elective classes as well as time where students can drop in. Everyday Andrew works on different skill building projects with kids in his classroom as well as individual projects that kids pick. Seniors are now including their makerspace work as a part of their school portfolio that is submitted to colleges. Andrew works with middle through high school age students.
What are your goals and how do you know makerspace is working?
Goal 1: Students use Design thinking applied to a problem. By the end of the class students should be able to be a voice at the IDEO shopping cart challenge.
Goal 2: building creative confidence by allowing kids to learn through failures and gain familiarity with certain tools.
Goal 2.1Students build work in their digital portfolio so that it can be submitted to an open portfolio college after graduation
What would you say to someone starting a makerspace?
Start with design thinking and model design thinking to improve your makerspace.
Andrew credits the success that his makerspace is to implementing design thinking and continuing to iterate.
Makerspace is not plug and play. Different places will place different demands.
Makerspaces do not look all the same, and they shouldn’t. Makerspaces need to be flexible and need to be designed for the space and the users.
What are some resources on Makerspace?
Makerspace Playbook for schools- minus the tools section
Andrew’s Tumblr with many book recommendations
How to contact Andrew and see the work his kids are doing.
Makerspace Blog: gcaamakerspace.wordpress.com
Makerspace Twitter: @gcaamakerspace
Makerspace Instagram: @gcaamakerspace
Personal Twitter: @Mr_makerspace
Who should we interview next? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org