Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#Makerspaces and ELA #MakerEd

I received a great question on Twitter today and gave a short Twitter response, but I thought I would write a more detailed response.

For me, Makerspaces and ELA make perfect sense. The reason for that is because I do not believe that they are for STEM courses alone. Makerspace advocates need to make sure they leave room for the "A". Of course, the "A" stands for Arts. For me, that includes English Language Arts.

Makerspaces are places that allow students to create things and explore ideas they interest them. It can be very easy to leverage this in an ELA environment if teachers are ready to embrace project based learning. PBL is where you can get students Making and fully using the Makerspace.

I love to give students the flexibility to demonstrate understanding using a variety of projects that they create. A Makerspace will give them a location to meet and create with peers.  These might be 3D designs, quilts, Raspberry Pi programs, green screened videos, and so much more. The Makerspace gives students an opportunity to explore and that is what makes PBL so exciting. Teachers do not have to drop a Makerspacce in the middle of their class and expect students to create in ELA. Makerspaces needed to be offered to students as a chance to push themselves when it comes to demonstrating understanding. With more access to tool, the more likely students will be to try new things. They will be even more likely if the teacher is willing to model some of the cool tools available in their own classroom.

Makerspaces are just another tool that teachers can use to allow students to create. In ELA, I encourage students to use it to demonstrate understanding. How would you use a Makerspace with your classes?

Interested in creating your own Makerspace for your school or classroom? Check out my new book, Your Starter Guide to Makerspaces and get started today!

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