Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Presenting and Learning About Makerspaces at ArASL 2015

My librarian co-worker (Mrs. Misti Bell) and I had the privilege of attending the Arkansas Association of School Librarians (ArASL) conference in Little Rock, Arkansas on July 27th. This was a special occasion for a few reasons. The first being that the ArASL Chair-Elect, Mrs. Sloan Powell, extended an invitation for us to present at the conference back in May when she read the blog post on our "Makerspace Day" in the library. (The link to this page is at the bottom of this article.) The second reason is that the keynote presenter was Mrs. Leslie Preddy, the current President of the American Association of School Librarians. Leslie did a wonderful job sharing about the many resources that AASL offers!

It was also great to hear her talk about the Makerspaces she has established in her own middle school library. I came away with five important points that Leslie shared about starting a Makerspace:

1. Begin with what you know
2. Start small
3. Think hands on creativity
4. Let failure be an option
5. Make something old new again

Another important point she made was that "failure is an option". Students will learn from failures and so will we! All of us should "think, create, share, and grow" in the library makerspace. After Leslie presented, it was our turn to share our makerspace experiences. 

Manga art during "Show Your Talent" Day

Misti and I discussed how we accidentally started our library makerspace back in 2013-2014 with "Share Your Talent" day. We invited students to share skills we had observed them using in the library during lunch. These talents included Magic Cards, Rubik's Cube, Manga Art, and Jewelry Making. We had these students at different tables so library lunch visitors could come learn and/ or watch during the entire period. It was a great success! Everyone at our conference session seemed interested in these ideas.

Misti presents the Sphero to attendees

The Rubik's Cube table was a hit
We also shared that in 2014 we were provided a Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer and two Spheros. Students enjoyed learning on these gadgets all year during lunch and after school.  After our students successfully presented 3D Printing to the library patrons during multiple lunch sessions, we finally decided to bring in additional makerspace lunchtime activities (which we called "makerspace day"). We set up tables for 3D Printing, Spheros, Jenga, Legos, and a "Deconstruction Station"  We reflected on the successes of this event to our approximately 50 ArASL conference session attendees. After this, we talked about potential future goals for the makerspace program (mainly items we hope to add like Makey Makey and Duct Tape projects).

I demonstrate the 3D Printer
We then invited everyone to try the same makerspace stations! We had brought each of the items for librarians to try out. The most popular two gadgets were the 3D Printer and the Sphero. It was inspiring to see everyone's interest in Makerspaces! We are grateful for the opportunity to share and learn at this state conference. It was so good to meet librarians from distant parts of the state and network face to face. It was also great to meet and learn from Leslie Preddy. Misti and I returned to Lakeside High School inspired and motivated to make the coming year better than ever for our learning community!

Check out our Makerspace Day here!

Two of our students helped present 3D Printing at a state technology conference. Go here to view!

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