On my personal blog InspiredToEducate.NET, we have reflected on the benefits of learning by making. It has been fun putting project based learning ideas into action at our new makerspace. Our team has been given the opportunity to implement project based learning experiences in community meetups. Our team has completed some informal reflection upon community events so far with the hopes of improving our guest experience. I wanted to share a few celebrations and ideas we’re considering to make things better.
What’s going well?
- We are very excited that we’re attracting a variety of makers. For background, our “open make” night is scheduled the first friday of every month and open to the public. This event gives our makerspace the opportunity to serve the public at large. During our first events, our makers have included arduino builders, coders, boot painters, cosplay crafters, artists, lego fans, musicians, and wood workers. It was neat to see young makers working right beside the adults.
- One of our key dreams for SparkMacon is that we inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and artists. It has been cool to see families bring their kids to the events. Inspired by the Maker Kids Makerspace and ClubHouse Augusta, our team has been working to make sure young makers feel at home. The kids seem to enjoy the 3D modeling activities with TinkerCAD and building stuff with Lego Wedo. During our last open make night, we experimented with building Minecraft worlds using TinkerCAD and MCEdit.
- I’m really pleased that my wife enjoyed getting to meet other maker families in Macon. I know that I appreciate getting to make new friends too. It does give me a feeling of satisfaction knowing that we’re helping to grow positive relationships through these events. Who knows what the impact of these relationships will be five years from now?
- It has been cool to see students teaching students. One of the older kids that attended the open make nights has been showing the younger students how he accomplished certain things in TinkerCAD. I also caught him showing off his “hour of code” games to his young friends. I hope we can grow this trend in our young makers programs. I’m looking forward to seeing our students helping other students to learn and grow.
- The people who have tried the “hour of code” materials from code.org have really enjoyed themselves. I got to see one of our young makers enjoying the process of building flappy birds. Since our first open make night, I have been told that this young man has been asking more questions about learning to code. (Way cool!!) We’ve had a few adults show interest in the material too. I’m looking forward to seeing us do more “learn to code” events in January.
- Our leadership team at SparkMacon could not pull off these events alone. It takes a lot of effort to properly market, organize, plan execute, setup and teardown events. In our early stages, I’m thankful for our SparkMacon members who have volunteered their precious time and effort to make the space functional and welcoming to our community.
In a future blog post, I will try to reflect upon how we plan to improve our community events.