“Ultimately, the interdisciplinary and empowering natures of these makerspaces can help prepare youth for a future we can’t yet imagine” (Davee, Regalla & Chang, 2015, p. 10).
“When we allow children to experiment, take risks, and play with their own ideas, we give them permission to trust themselves. They begin to see themselves as learners who have good ideas and can transform their own ideas into reality” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, p. 36).
Friday morning and the air was filled with excitement. Students were buzzing with the talk of what their ideas were and what they had planned to make. Teachers were setting up their classrooms with extension cords and various tinkering tools and equipment. Tables and carpets were moved to make space for the madness of creating to take hold.
As an educator, I love these days. Watching students, who are normally quiet in a formal classroom setting, blossom into creative geniuses. Solving problems, investigating ways of improving an idea or product, trialing and erroring, cutting and gluing, soldering and drilling. I don’t remember once asking students to lower their noise level nor asking someone to get back on task.
Yet, should a bystander be there, standing in the background and looking into the room, at that moment, I’m sure they’d see chaos. A blur of bodies, moving fluidly from place to place with cutters in hand, or soldering irons, soldering bits of metal to motherboards, without blueprints or instruction books to guide. Scissors and tape, hot glue guns melting plastic and in some cases, little fingers that got too close.
I love these days. To watch learning in action. To see students working alone, yet within a team. Each one focused on their job, each one being an observer. Pushing back ideas that don’t fit with their images. Grabbing at solutions to make their ideas come to life. Girls and boys working together without thought of who they are, or where they’re from, or who is better at answering questions, doing sums or running faster.
I love these days. These days remind me of my own education, but they were few and far between. My maker days were spend outside of schooling hours. In the streets of my hometown, at the park or in the bush, building huts, playing with friends and cooking pinecones over open fires.
I love these days. This is why I teach. To see my students stretch their minds. Strengthen their determination to succeed and develop a belief in themselves. I need them to know they can do anything, they can be anything, and they just can.
I love these days. So, it looks like I’ll keep teaching until I don’t love these days anymore.