Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's Not Just The Space, It's The Mentality #MakerEd

This week has been a whirlwind of writing for me. This will be a third post in a day that should go out on Tuesday or Wednesday. I've just been inspired to write. Also, I've finished my grading and finally have time. :-)


I've been thinking about Makerspaces lately and the role they have been playing  in my educational adventures. I have been advocating for schools to look into Makerspaces as a way to promote this creative spirit. I believe that a space can help support ideas that students have and can draw reluctant learners in to try new things, but the mentality needs to be the focus. I started to think really hard about what makes up the Maker mentality to me. I'm sure there are people that have come up with a list of things that define the mentality, but that does not apply to everyone. Making is about creating your world and I think that includes what the Mentality is for you and your learning community. Here are some things that I think make up my Maker Mentality:


1. Be a Risk Taker - Be willing to try new things that are completely different for you. Don't be afraid of what might happen or how it might end. Take those risks and do it with a smile.


2. Be Fearless - If you are going to take risks, you need to be ok with failing. The bigger the risk, the bigger the potential failure can be. Don't let fear be the blockade. Go for it and try again if you fail.


3. Be Passionate - If you are going to do something, give it your all. You will only let yourself down if you are not willing to commit all of your being to pursue what matters in the world. If you are going to Make great things, Make them with the passion found only in your heart.


4. Be Inclusive - Making is for all people all of the time. People can only be as great as the community they surround themselves. Different cultures, life experiences, ideas, and so much more can drive you to create amazing things.


5. Be a Hacker - Take things and think of different ways to use them. Remix and remix and remix again until you create something new and beautiful. Some of the best things in the world have been created by just changing things that already exist.


6. Be an Artist - We are all artist, we just use different mediums. A wired Raspberry Pi that will send you weather updates is a work of art to you and those who can appreciate the work that goes in. The Arts are part of STEM and you are the artist. Your creations make the world a more beautiful place. Never forget that.


7. Be a Dreamer - Dream big and dream often. Then take those dreams and make them a reality. If you want to remix the world, you need to dream it before you do it. Your dreams are only limited by your inaction.


8. Be True - Most importantly, be true to yourself. Making is about expressing feelings and ideas in ways that are meaningful to you. Stay true to that person, but be open to change and growth. A Maker will grow and become something different if they are open to the community. As long as it is true to who you are, everything will be just fine.


I'm sure others will have ideas that are different than this, but these are things that are meaningful to me and have become a part of the Maker Mentality with my students. Below is a quote that hangs above my door that really encompasses much of the Maker Mentality for me.


If you want to know more about setting up Makerspaces for your district, school, or classroom, please email me, pick up my book, Your Starter Guide to Makerspaces, on Amazon, or send me a tweet.