Let me start by saying this is very late in being posted. I started this is February and saved it as a draft and came back to it. Sorry for the delay.
You know when you are working and think everything is going great then you see somebody else doing something different and that makes you want to change everything you are doing? Well that has happened to me. I attended TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) Convention in February and saw many great sessions. I loved getting to hear from librarians from around Texas and even some from around country. I also was able to present at the Librarians Academy about our Cozy Corners.
I have been struggling with the new concept of "Makerspaces" and the benefits on them. Well there were a ton of sessions on them at TCEA and I attended several of them. Many makerspace activities seemed like "crafts" to me an I just kept wondering what the benefit was. Well in two words "Design Thinking." After I heard it put in these terms, thanks Robin, it made much more sense to me. So how does this apply to the library? Well let me name the ways. You have heard of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and probably heard of activities that your children are doing in school. You may also have heard it called STEAM, the A stands for Art. There is a big push to make sure that the A is included. After realizing that art is the "Art of Design" I don't see how the A can't be included. To build anything there has to be a design and that requires art. In keeping with this train of thought Makerspaces make sense to me. I have struggled with when to "open" the makerspace activities because I'm in full rotation and the library never has any open flexible time except on certain Fridays.
Lets say I just put up a pile of cardboard and they said "The Challenge - Build a House" the kids would have no problem doing that. In a true makerspace I would include all kinds of extras for them to build this house. Markers, crayons, glue, scissors, papers and maybe even people to put inside the house. Since this house is cardboard I don't need tools like saws, hammer and nails.
The kids love Lego's and giving them a Lego challenge has been awesome. How about build a maze for a marble. They turned out great and the students wanted to keep doing it.
Since the Lego challenge was such a hit we decided to do another one and this time it was building a bridge.
I can't 'wait to have more Design Challenges for the students. They inspire and amaze me everyday!