Today I have a grand total of 8 students in our makerspace after school. With the exception of two students working together on stamping and crafts, everyone is working on their own project. A smattering of projects: One student is making a helmet from parts of a paper box and aluminum foil, another is creating origami from scrapbook paper and a YouTube video, while another is figuring out a Makey Makey and another is working on writing and editing fan fiction.
Pretty sure none of this would be happening without our makerspace. Even though there’s not much talking going on, everyone is engaged with what they’re doing and making awesome things. Sometimes kids just need time to be kids. It’s not about curriculum, it’s not necessarily about complex tasks from an adult perspective, but it’s about kids working on what they want to work on, and problem solving and being creative in their own time and at their own pace.
Although I would say it is a slower-than-expected start, I absolutely love that our makerspace is being used. Classes have used it. Kids have used it. It’s been a resounding success. We haven’t had many failures, which kind of scares me. There’s enough variety to keep most kids engaged and work on whatever it is they want to work on.
So, whether you’re just investigating makerspaces or you have any size makerspace, all I’ll say is advertise, advertise. Kids in your school will use it. But be sure to ask them what they want! No one will come if what you’re offering isn’t interesting to them.
The Bottom Line? As librarians, we offer all kinds of things for both personal and academic interest. Makerspaces fall into both. We need to celebrate personal learning as well as academic learning. This afternoon was personal learning. Earlier today was academic learning (post on that soon!). And it was wonderful. So even though I’m exhausted and have so many other things I should be doing, I’m sitting in my library, with 8 students, doing all kinds of things. Every kid is learning something right now, and that’s all that matters.