iMake iLearn – Setting Up Your Makerspace

iMake iLearn

The Why….

Our makerspace is called The SP Design Lab. The SP Design Lab is modeled after the Makerspace movement where our students are able to access different materials to create and design in both the physical and virtual environments. Too often our students are told what they should do, how they should do it, and whether or not what they have done meets “our” standards. SP Design Lab hopes to create an environment where the learner is at the center of the design and creation process. It is essential for our students to explore, design, and ignite a passion for creation. Everyone is a maker…. it is finding the medium that enables the creator to create.


The How….

Learning is about having the strength to fail and try again.

The SP Design Lab is based on the Lifelong Kindergarten philosophy from MIT. The process of creating starts with imagining. Imagining turns to creating and playing with different mediums. Sharing is an essential part of the process because it helps the designer to reflect and reimagine.


The What…

The “what” is a place that too many people get very focused on… but really start simple.  Some of the most powerful creation starts with simple materials like cardboard.  Repurposing recycled goods is a great first step into creating a making space.  I started my process by writing several grants which enabled me to purchase many design materials but reflecting back, I realize that the success of our SP Design Lab wasn’t about the materials rather the environment which promotes learners to create, communicate, and pursue ideas.  Because I wasn’t able to always answer questions or know everything, it created a dynamic that was very different where students asked each other questions and took the lead instead of waiting to be told the what and the how.  

In my opinion, the book Invent to Learn is a must read.  Also and Makercamp are great project resources from other makers as well as give learners access to ideas to launch from.


The Now…

Start now!  Make it happen.  Use whatever avenue you have – recess, after-school, 20 percent time.  Start the journey because you have no idea where it will take you.  Reach out to other colleagues, community members, your local library….. but no matter what be ready to fail, pick yourself up, and try again.  Making is an essential part of being.  Helping learners to find the medium that inspires them is life changing.


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