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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Updates to Our Maker Space

The Maker Space, which we started 2 years ago, has gone through quite a few changes.

This year we moved a few things around and ordered quite a few new kits and tools based on feedback from teachers and students as well as our own observations on how space was used. We have also enlarged the space it occupies to include one of our large work tables with better access to power.

We have reorganised and redefined areas, but possibly the biggest change is the attention the Science Nook is getting. This can be found at the back of the maker space just in front of the ICT Lab. It now sports microscopes, solar panel robot kits, circuit blocks, engineering kits, board games and more. The students also have access to our 3D printer and printing pens and a good selection of appropriate magazines and books for young scientists, engineers, tinkers and thinkers.

The LRC Maker Club has already started and the response has been great. Over the summer we received a long awaited shipment of replacement 3Doodler Pens. We had the opportunity to view them in action and chat with the company representatives at the annual ISTE Conference and were convinced the 3Doodler Start pens were the way to go. They are non-toxic the tips do not get hot and they were 3Doodler, the only company whose pens has stood up to the rigours of our maker space and ICT lessons. We weren't disappointed.

Have a look at some of the initial designs done by the students during their first lesson.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Helping Creativity Blossom

The new school year is here and with it many changes, improvements, and tweaks by staff in our attempts to make this school year a powerful journey for our students filled with creativity and student choice. While a lot has happened so far, there is much to be done.

Books and Equipment are still arriving and many boxes need to be unpacked.  Items also need to be catalogued and moved to the maker space, library spaces and the ICT Lab where they can be used by teachers and students.

Sharing and testing need to be an extension of this unpacking and organising activity, so that staff members are better aware of what we have and think about ways in which they can use all this great stuff. Sometimes it is hard to remember that it isn't just about the stuff.

Our walls are covered with shelves of amazing materials, books, resources, and recycled items. Unfortunately, that isn't enough if a key factor is missing, creativity,  staff, student and parent creativity, community creativity, the ability to try things out, tinker, fail and get back up and try again.

Our jobs as educators, parents and school leaders, (some of us wear several of these hats), is to support students while their imaginations soar. We have a duty and provide experiences for students that enable them to explore, create and share their ideas and discoveries. This has got to be one of the main roles of school in the 21st century if we want to ensure that our students discover their talents, passions and feel supported in taking risks, failing and learning from their mistakes.

I came across this short video on Scoop. It this morning and thought it epitomised these ideas quite well.