Week Twelve – Makerspace Presentation

Here is my YouTube video of my Maker Club presentation.  Enjoy!

By waclawskid

Week 11 – Reflection

I am always impressed with our Arduino projects.  This week I enjoyed using the LCD screen.  I don’t exactly know how how the board and the programming controls the LCD screen, but I understand most of the other programming.  I like Sarah’s fix using the twist switch.  She attached the switch between the two sides of the board and just moved one wire to the other side of the bread board. It worked

I also learned that I have to start the typing out the programming before we get to the project.  My typing is not good enough to enter code quickly without several errors.  Things went much smoother when I got a head start.

I really like Mariah’s idea of having students bring in the newest and coolest technology into the classroom.  This would get her students excited and help the teacher stay up to date on technology.

Jule provided an interesting chart of “10 Ways to Integrate Technology Into Your Classroom.” This is a quick, visually appealing resource.  I will share this with my staff.

Brian reminded me that today’s’ learners don’t just want to learn or make a living, they want to make a difference.  This will be important to remember if you want to make things relevant for today’s students.

By waclawskid

Week 11 – How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

It is interesting that teachers and many adults need to “Learn the 21st Century.”  We are living in the 21st century, but our students are living in a different world of technology and social media.  We have to understand what our students are experiencing before we can teach them, or more importantly, help prepare them for their future.  To make this even harder, we don’t even know what this future is going to look like.  Will it be Star Wars or Star Trek?  Or will it be something we haven’t even imagined yet?

Jenifer Nichols has some good suggestions for how to help students experience 21st Century learning from her article, “4 Essential Rules Of 21st Century Learning.”  They include:

  • Instruction should be student centered
  • Education should be collaborative
  • Learning should have context
  • Schools should be integrated with society (Nichols, 2017)

Jennifer’s advice is very similar to what our textbook suggests.  This is nothing new, but it is packaged in a different way.

What is new is how we think about teachers and their use of technology.  Martinez, in our textbooks says, “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you haven’t learned this century” (Martinez, 2013).  She goes on to question why we always assume that teachers are going to be inferior to students when using technology.  Why is this okay? Why don’t we expect teachers to become experts instead of always behind?  One of the ways I am going to learn this century is by expecting my teachers to learn technology and be leaders for our students, not just spectators.  I haven’t figured out how this is going to work yet, but it is one of my goals for this next year.  Personally, I will continue to take classes and play with technology.

Rita Oates in her article, How to Learn in the 21st Century states that, “Teachers need to teach using the tools of today and not the past” (Oates, 2009).  This is another reminder that teachers need to permanently retire the chalkboard and start using the most up-to-date technology, apps and social media.  My goal is to help my staff make this happen.


Martinez, S. L. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Nichols, J. 4 Essential Rules Of 21st Century Learning. Retrieved on 7-23-17 at http://www.teachthought.com/learning/4-essential-rules-of-21st-century-learning/.

Oates, R. (2009). How to Learn in the 21st Century. Educational Leadership. Retrieved on 7-23-17 at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/How-to-Learn-in-the-21st-Century.aspx.

By waclawskid

Week 10 Review

I learned that programming can be challenging especially if you can’t find the problem.  One misspelled word or capital letter can mess the whole thing up.  This week I was typing a lot of code and trying to do it as quickly as possible and the result wasn’t pretty.  Next week I will start the programming before class as long as I know what project we are doing in advance.  The larger the program, the more opportunity for issues.

Sarah brought up an interesting idea that Makerspaces help the mental and physiological state of students.  It is good for students to have control and to be able to chase their passions.  This is an interesting ideas that I would like to investigate more.

Mariah proposed a very simple and concise reason for having a Makerspace.  She wants to promote a Growth Mindset and improve student behaviors and creativity.  By focusing on these three items many other elements of a students education will also improve as a side effect.

I like Jule’s focus on the community aspect of a Makerspace.  She hope to bring the community together from fundraising, support and working with students in a Makerspace.  This is a creative way to utilize a Makerspace.

I like the fact that Brian mention that failure should be an option for students. It is important for students to struggle and figure it out.  The is different than the famous book, “Failure is Not an Option.”  This is a large change from what is typically accepted in education today.


By waclawskid

Week 10 – Why Does Homer High School Need a Makerspace?

I like this week’s essential questions, but I think the word “need” is a bit strong.  I don’t think we “need” a Makerspace, but I think we will be more effective if we have one.  We should try to have a growth mindset and continue to get better and this would be a good first step.  I still haven’t drunk the cool-aide yet when if comes Makerspaces and constructionist learning.  Don’t get me wrong, it is powerful and it can help some students, but it is not only solution or the best strategy in every situation.

That being said, I am excited to start a Makerspace at HHS.  A Makerspace will excite some students and get them engaged in way other methods haven’t.  I believe in personalizing learning and this is a great way to do that.  In order to meet the needs of all kids we do need to try new and exciting strategies and technology.

If a Makerspace is so exciting and will help lots of students, how do we afford them?  Forbes magazine in their article “We Need more Makerspaces, suggest we should have lots of mini Makersapces.  These mini Makerspaces could be pulled behind a trailer and could spend time at different schools or areas of a city.  While this isn’t the perfect situation, it is better than nothing.

Why should Homer High School have a Makerspace.  Michelle Davis sums this up well in her blog post, “Maker Spaces: The Benefits.”  She feels that Makerspaces have the following benifits:

  • They are empowering ways to learn
  • Provide learner-centric opportunities to learn and grow
  • They make learning relevant and authentic
  • Prepares them for their future
  • Addresses multiple intelligences
  • Invites multi age learning
  • Reflects real life
  • Can make real change in the world.

I feel those are more than enough reason for HHS to have a Makerspace.


Davis, M. Makerspaces: the Benefits. Curiositycommons.  Retrieved on 7-16-17 at: https://curiositycommons.wordpress.com/makerspaces-the-benefits/.

Martinez, S. L. Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

McCue, TJ. (2011). We need more Makerspaces.  Forbes. Retrieved on 7-16-17 at https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2011/12/02/we-need-more-makerspaces/#3c23676872e6.

By waclawskid

Week 9 Reflection

This week I learned that having a Maker Day is important if you are going to develop a community Makerspace.  Being an educator, I assumed that I would build a Makerspace in a school and kids will come.  I didn’t think about the fact that people from the community might want to use it.  In fact, I don’t know that we can open our Makerspace to the public.  I was planning on having a Makerspace for just our high school.  If we opened it up to the public we would have to deal with alternate funding, supervision and sharing equipment with our career and technical  program.

From Sarah I learned that choosing the right date for a Maker Day is important.  If you hold it during the summer the number volunteer and students who can help goes down drastically.  If you choose a date during the school year it is hard to find a date that doesn’t conflict with something, especially sports.  This is an area that is tricky for all events and if you pick the wrong date no one will show up.

I was introduce to a Quote included in Mariah’s post from President Obama reminding us that we have always been a country of tinkerers and inventors.  This is something to remember because it is important and it is not easily measured or tested for.

Jule reminded me that money is an issue if you don’t have any and Brian agreed with me that our textbook goes overboard with its advise on how to plan for a Maker Day.

Our Arduino project was awesome this week.  Okay, I was presenting, but I enjoyed messing with the programming to change the pins and see what happened.  I now know that we can change were we set our cords up on the circuit board as long as we change the programming.

By waclawskid

Week 9: What would you need to coordinate a “Maker Day” for your school?

I like our textbook, “Invent to Learn,” but I have some issues with chapter 11 or “Make Your Own Maker Day.”  As a principal, managing, planning and publicizing events is part of what I do.  Chapter 11 basically gives you every idea, technique and advice on how to plan a Makerspace event.  If you are going to plan a Makerspace event, please don’t take every piece of advice Martinez and Stager give.  If you do, you will have the largest, most overplanned event in the history of your town.  I guess, if your goal is to have a huge, overplanned event that takes lots of work and effort to pull off, then go for it.  Good luck on planning your next event or encore.

Of course, I think the point is to create a huge, national event in as many places as possible.  This is very apparent in the “Day of Making” website which is basically an advertisement for a Maker Day.  There are also great videos and article explaining what a Makerspaces are and what they produce. You can find it at http://makezine.com/day-of-making/.

In the “Final Maker Day Toolkit,” the University of British Columbia has produced a 49-page guide for planing a Maker Day.  Our textbook only gives us 7 pages.  These Makerspace people don’t mess around.  For our purposes I will try to summarize what our textbook suggests for planning a Maker Day.

Martinez and Stager suggest the following ideas for planning a Maker Day at your school:

  1. Involve kids every way possible
    • Let them plan activities
    • Make posters
    • Run the classes
    • Make the materials for the day of the event
  2. Marketing, marketing & marketing
    • Decorate your room with examples of Making
    • Send information to TV, newspaper, radio and more
    • Use social media
    • Have kids send personalized notes to people they know
    • Rent roadside billboards and pay people to spread the word on social media (Just kidding on this one, but if you have the money…..)
  3. Scheduling is important
    • Start of with a bang and an exciting hands-on beginning activity
    • Keep things moving
    • Have lots of different types of activities
    • Highlight other areas of your school
      • Let the school band or choir perform at the Maker Day
  4. Materials
    • Make sure you have enough materials (Plan for more than you think you will need)
    • Break out the cool stuff
      • Let people use the wearable computing, robotics and other neat stuff
  5. Make good use of bringing all these people together
    • Use this opportunity to find experts who may be able to help in the future
    • Fundraise at the event if possible
    • Publicize what you are doing by getting photos, videos and articles out to the public and your website
  6. Wrap it up
    1. Announce the next event
    2. Clean up
    3. Thank your volunteers, presenters and sponsors

Having a Maker Day sounds like a lot of work, but also like a very fun event.  Good luck with your planning!


Day of making. Make:. Retrieved on 7-9-17 at http://makezine.com/day-of-making/.

Maker day 2014. (2014). The University of British Columbia. Retrieved on 7-9-17 at http://www.itabc.ca/sites/default/files/docs/discover/Final%20MakerDayToolKit.pdf.

Martinez, S. L. Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.


By waclawskid

Week 8 – Reflection

This week I learned from Sarah that teaching today is more about what you do with the information you have rather than memorizing it.  Many students are going to know more than the teacher in many subjects and that shouldn’t be scary, it should be exciting.  It is the teachers job to get them to use their skills and information to grow even more.

I also learned from Sarah that I shouldn’t try to kill myself to keep up with every technology trend.  It is too much to keep up with and I am sure I can find a student to teach me if needed.

From Mariah I learned that Minecraft and Prodigy are good games to implement state math standards with younger grade students.  I am always glad to see real world examples of constructionist learning at work.

I learned from Jule that by having a Makerspace in your classroom, there should never be down time.  I don’t think she intended for that to be her message, but by reading her post it made sense that if students finished their  work, they could tinker or create stuff.  What a great classroom engagement tool.

I learned from Brian that while teacher technically can’t teach something they don’t know, they can give students skills, strategies, feedback and items for improvement.  These are some the keys to be able to teach more than your know.


By waclawskid

Week 8 – Can you teach more than you know?

The question for this week is very thought provoking.  Can we teach more than we know?  Obviously, we can’t give something we don’t have, but then many coaches have taken players further than the coach has ever gone, so it seem possible.  I do think teachers can inspire, direct and challenge students to do more and learn more than they ever did.

I know I helped direct and prod my daughter to excel in math far beyond my capabilities.  When she asked questions I didn’t know the answer to, I would check the internet, suggest strategies to try, or ask questions to help–all while having no idea how to do the actual math.  It did help her and she is now a National Merit Scholar and she earned a perfect Math SAT score (I am not taking all the credit!) So I guess that means I am answering yes to this week’s essential question.

It seems our reading this week agrees with me.  In Hannah Hudson’s article, “Do Students Know More About Technology Than You Do?” she states, “The new digital divide is not between the haves and have-nots. It’s between kids and grown-ups.”  Her article basically talks about using kids as a resource and letting them be the experts in this area.  Because students are technological natives they want to and expect to use technology wherever and whenever they possibility can.

Tina Barseghian, in her article, “Three Trends that Define the Future of Education and Learning,” lists what it means when students have more ownership in their learning and that they know more than their teachers in some areas. Here is a summary of that list:

  • Both teachers and students can learn from each other
  • Teachers are becoming facilitators and guides for students
  • Teachers are changing the way they teach to meet students’ needs
  • Quiet and non-participatory students are now becoming engaged
  • Teachers are personalizing learning for all students

Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager in their book, “Invent to Learn,” further support the premise that students can learn more than teachers know.  They state, “How can my students be agents of change rather than of objects of change?” They believe empowered and engaged students can learn and are capable of much more than we give them credit for.  If teachers help them find their passions and support them, the sky is the limit.


Barseghian, T.  (2011). Three trends that define the future of teaching and learning. Mind/Shift.  Retrieved on 7-6-17 at http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/02/05/three-trends-that-define-the-future-of-teaching-and-learning/.

Hudson, H. (2017). Do your students know more about technology than you do? Scholastic. Retrieved on 7-6-17 at https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/do-your-students-know-more-about-technology-you-do/.

Martinez, S. L. Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.


By waclawskid

Week 7 Reflection

I always find it entertaining that before we can talk about the philosophy of teaching, including whether it is constructionist or not, we need to talk about rules and procedures first. Whenever we put more than a couple student in a Makerspace or classroom, there needs to be rules so things run smoothly.   This is one major similarity between traditional and constructionist teaching and learning.

I really like that Sarah is going to try a different variation of a Makerspace by creating a chemistry Makerspace.  This could be a very powerful tool for students and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  It will also be interesting to see what issues, safety concerns and specials rules she will have to come up with to make it run smoothly.  I love to see when people stretch themselves.

Mariah came up with 3 main categories of rules for her Makerspace.  They are: be responsible, safe and respectful.  I like that they are simple and relevant.  I will remember to make similar rules that are simple yet relevant for my Makerspace.

Jule’s idea of having very few rules for what students can do in a Makerspace can be powerful for her students.  Of course, this can also cause problems and safety concerns.  She may want to think of procedures and basic safety rules to make sure things run smoothly.  That being said, she may have a great idea that helps shape powerful Makerspaces.  It will be interesting to see how this works out.

I will definitely use Brian’s diagrams for using a tool and for learning how to use a new tool.  I will use both his diagrams and his rules.  I love his ideas for using a new tool such as attend a lecture, watch a video, demo it or more.  The attendant certifies that each student has been trained on the tool before they use it.

By waclawskid