Five Ways to Make Your School Makerspace a Thriving Space of Belonging
Dr. Kelly Bird, Director of Renbrook Beginning School, joined Margaret Powers, founder of Creative Thinking Partners LLC, and ISM Consultant Joshua Nelson, as presenters in a webinar on makerspaces for Independent School Management this week.
Makerspaces are dedicated areas where students use hands-on techniques and tools to design, experiment, build, and invent. These spaces foster learning through inquiry and help develop students’ real-life, critical-thinking skills. But teachers often find it challenging to use their school’s makerspaces effectively and equitably. Dr. Bird and her colleagues discussed the value of makerspaces and how to ensure these specialized areas support student belonging and fruitful learning.
Key Points included:
- Scheduling tips to promote collaboration and ways to create connections across subjects for interdisciplinary projects.
- The benefits of designating a makerspace coordinator in each school division.
- The importance of creating a scope and sequence for specific skills students can choose from.
- The impact of the environment’s physical design on student interest and sense of belonging.
- Concrete steps to build a shared commitment to learning through “making.”
Dr. Bird received her Doctorate in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation, MAKING Space: Teacher Perceptions of How
Participation and Choice are Mediated in Maker Education in Independent Schools has informed her important work here at Renbrook School and beyond.