Exploring Project Based Learning Through Makerspaces

Meaningful Making Through Project Based Learning

Hello, world! Welcome to the first in a series of posts designed to explore the impact of Project Based Learning through the lens of Makerspaces. This is possible thanks to a grant from CTN and through a partnership with Detroit Public Television, The Nerdy Teacher, the University Liggett School. Over the coming months, these posts will explore the different ways students, teachers, administrators and parents can support project based learning in the school environment and at home. First though, here is a little bit about me.

I have been in education for the past 16 years. I spent the first 15 of those years as a high school Language Arts teacher where I focused on project based learning as a main way to assess students. During that time as a classroom teacher, I was recognized by Michigan’s Association of Computer Users in Learning as the Technology Using Teacher of the Year and, in that same year, by the International Society of Technology in Education as their teacher of the year. I present around the world to schools and at conferences on how to best approach integrating technology and teaching practices into their classrooms. My work with project based learning has been covered on CNN and my use of technology has been featured in the Ed Week and other publications around the world.

Over the past 10 years, I have become a Google Certified Educator, Raspberry Pi Certified Education, TEDEd Innovative Educator, was recognized as an Emerging Leader by ASCD and earned my Masters in Educational Technology through Central Michigan University (Go Chips!) In 2016, I published the best selling book, Your Starter Guide to Makerspaces, that shared my experiences of starting a makerspace to support project based learning in my school.

In 2017, I started my new position as the Middle School Technology Coordinator and Makerspace Director at University Liggett School where I was tasked to build a Makerspace and program to support making and project based learning for students in grades 6-12. It is an exciting new adventure that will will be the source of many of the posts coming over the course of the next year.

You can follow me on Social Media on Twitter @TheNerdyTeacher and Instangram @TheNerdyTeacher. I am also a father of an amazing 1st grader, husband to a very patient wife, and an obsessive nerd when it comes to Star Wars, comic books, video games, and working on the pond I build in my backyard.

Phew, that is more than I like to write about me, but I wanted to make sure that everyone knew my background as we explore the different ways that makerspaces and project based learning can come together to creating a very powerful learning environment that can benefit all the different types of learners we have in our classrooms.

Starting in May, there will be a monthly post that will explore the different elements of Project Based Learning and how it can be used in the classroom and supported at home. After exploring what Project Based Learning is, I will dive into Makerspaces and show how they can be used to support Project Based Learning. As We build our new Makerspace at University Liggett, there will be plenty of examples to pull from on how everything can be connected to support student learning at school and at home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out in the comment section below or shoot me a message on Twitter. Thanks for taking the time to read this super long post. I promise they will be much shorter in the future. I can’t wait to share our adventures in Project Based Learning and Makerspaces with all of you.

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