Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Resources for Maker Ed

Compiled by Susan Stephenson,

Maker Ed is a wonderful new way of thinking about something that’s been around for a while: practical projects or “making”. I love this idea because of my passionate belief in the importance of creating, and of encouraging kids to create at home and at school. Making can be incorporated into different curricula, and maker spaces set up in classroom corners, libraries or be pop-up spaces that enable more fluidity. Materials for making can be as varied as paper, buttons, LEGO, fabric, or clay and as technologically advanced as photopolymer for 3D printing, special kits or books about coding.

Many of my librarian friends are embracing, or considering the maker movement, as a logical extension of their emphasis on inquiry-based learning, so I set out to research and find some resources to recommend to them. There are thousands more resources out there, but I have limited my list so it won’t become overwhelming. My thanks go to the wonderful Teacher Librarians on the OZTL list who suggested favourite resources to me.

Useful Articles and Websites

***The Maker Movement – Retinkering Education “The main idea is to give students the time and opportunity to tinker, design, invent, build, share and, most importantly, fail! The Design Thinking model is a good way to introduce the design phases of ideation, prototyping and critiquing. As a teacher, I facilitate the Maker Space by providing resources and asking high order questions along the way. I resist the urge to model or demonstrate how to use things – instead, I stand beside them and learn from them and with them. The most powerful words I can offer them are “I don’t know”. The Maker Movement is a brilliant way to give your students authentic voice and choice in their learning. What are you waiting for? Start making!”

***How to Start a Makerspace When You’re Broke “What many people don’t realize is that the idea that you need a lot of money to start a Makerspace is a myth. All you need is to have vision, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.”

***Create an Amazing Low-tech Library Makerspace With These Easy Ideas “If you want to start making in your library or classroom, stock up on these cheap (or free) items for limitless possibilities.”

***Makerspace Starter Kit from The Daring Librarian: “Do you want to give it a shot without spending thousands of bucks and a lot of commitment? Keep reading!”

***Stuff You NEED for Your School Makerspace “Some of our must-haves are consumables, where students create ideas and projects in the art station. Other must-haves are not consumables, but are always in use. Here is our top ten list of elementary makerspace must-have materials.”

***Building A Tinkering Mindset In Young Students Through Making “To be effective tinkerers, students need to achieve a state of mind in which they are primed to play and make joyful discoveries.”

***Designing a School Makerspace “A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set makerspaces and STEAM labs apart from single-use spaces.”

***Making for all - how to build an inclusive makerspace “Makerspaces should be about empowering people, all people, to experiment with ways to make sense of the world, to make the world a better places, and to make meaning in their lives.”

***How to Build an Epic LEGO Wall - step by step tutorial and free printable.

***The Tinkering Child - blog of TL, Jackie Child

***AHS Makerspace - website of TL, Anne Weaver

***The Teen Tech Week Ning - Lots of useful toolkits, particularly Event and Activity Ideas.

*** Design Minds - Australian website with this motto: DESIGN IS A WAY OF VIEWING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY. Lots of Toolkits on offer to prompt your design thinking.

***Renovated Learning - A favourite website among TLs, both those who are contemplating a space and just starting out, and for those who are further along the path.

Websites Concerning Materials for Making

3Doodler - including 3Doodler projects and design challenges.
Pinterest board devoted to Makerspace - Technology, and Makerspace - Arts and Crafts.

Recommended Maker Books:

Books for a Makerspace recommended by TL, Jackie Child
Books to Inspire Coding and Robotics recommended by TL, Jackie Child
Pinterest board of Books about Making

Picture Books that Support Making:

Apps for Kids that Encourage Creating


Life Lessons Through Tinkering - a TED video to show interested staff and parents.

There are so many opportunities for learning in Maker Education, particularly when it’s linked to project-based learning, and when the emphasis is on the learning process rather than the product. Is it surprising that do-it-yourself or do-it-with-others far surpasses listening to someone describe how to do something, both in enjoyment and educational outcomes? Is it surprising that kids are hugely motivated to learn when they find a project that fits their current interests and is personally meaningful? Planning, carrying out a task and reflecting on what they did involves children in brainstorming, creative and critical thinking, developing and evaluating knowledge, analysing concepts and ideas, considering alternatives and finding solutions to problems, documentation, innovation, collaboration, and much more.

I hope the resources listed above will help you get started with the Maker Ed journey, and that you'll share this post with anyone you think might be interested. On Friday, I will be publishing a list of sample maker activities for kids at The Book Chook.

1 comment:

  1. I love Maker Ed's emphasis on "making", especially when this creativity is a follow-up to reading. In my recently published children's book, High in the Sky, a young energetic child hops onto a tire swing and uses imagination to blast into space, surf a roaring wave, soar through the clouds like an eagle and many other fantastic adventures. Ask for this title at your library or go to to order your owned signed copy. Also on my website, there are free downloadable instructions for making a paper plate tire swing, plus a free High in the Sky coloring page. Enjoy reading and making!


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