The role and influence of our Labrary Makerspace continues to grow and evolve with each passing year.

Three years ago, when we first opened up a small makerspace in the Upper School library, it was simply a room with some cool equipment. The plan was to have it open for students to use during their “free” periods, but we soon discovered that no such periods really exist, so the room was largely underutilized. Last year, we introduced some programs to support the development of the makerspace in our community. Frequent evening events were offered in response to the fact that students rarely had time during the day to visit our space. In addition, we partnered with Treehouse and launched a Coding Club for students and faculty. These programs created an awareness of the awesome things happening in the Labrary and, as a result, we saw more and more students visiting the space during recess, stopping by before first period, and attending our events.

Getting ready to open the doors to the new middle school LABrary makerspace! #gcds

A post shared by David Saunders (@designsaunders) on

This year, we are continuing to define and grow our program in a variety of ways. We will continue offering evening events throughout the year, our Coding Club will continue to work on building apps and websites, and recess will no doubt remain a vibrant and frenzied area of building and exploration. But in addition to that, we will be offering a series of micro-classes for middle school students that will be held during the study hall period held in the final hour of the school day. These micro-courses will run once a week for approximately six weeks throughout the year. At present, the courses include LEGO Robotics, Kano Club, Web Development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), Programming with Sphero SPRK, and Game Design. If there is sufficient interest, I will be able to offer a course more than once later in the year. And there will always be time in the day for students to drop in for informal exploration and tinkering.

With momentum building, there are more and more opportunities for me to partner with colleagues to incorporate design thinking and our Labrary space into the curriculum. I am really excited to see how it continues to evolve over time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these new additions will further empower our students to foster their creativity and take greater agency in their learning.

So how are you utilizing your community’s makerspace? How are you collaborating with colleagues in the classroom? What events or courses would you suggest I add to the list? Add a comment below or hit me up on Twitter!