Join Us at NWP Annual in Atlanta–The Makerspace in the Library: What it Means for Your Classroom

16am_logoI’m incredibly excited to be attending my first National Writing Project Annual Meeting in Atlanta on November 17!  I’m also honored to be participating on the panel, “The Makerspace in the Library: What it Means for Your Classroom,” from 1:30 until 3:00 PM.   What are we exploring in our session?

Makerspaces are rapidly being implemented in libraries both in and out of schools, and within this change, the role of the librarian is changing. What are the impacts of this change on the our school communities? Is this phenomenon here to stay? What are the implications for writing teachers, and the larger connected learning ecosystem? Join us in a conversation on making in libraries today, and talk with us about how makerspaces and school libraries can work together to support your students’ learning.

My fellow panel members include these innovative educators and librarians:

  • Zach Duensing, Nashville Public Library
  • Colleen Graves Author, Teacher Librarian; Denton , Tx
  • Valerie Jopeck, Elementary Library Education Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
  • K-Fai Steele, Program Associate, National Writing Project

We’ll be doing both large group discussions as well as small group breakouts as part of our inquiry that afternoon.  As a librarian and English teacher, I can’t wait to hear the ideas that will be shared and generated through our session.  If you are attending the NWP Annual Meeting, I hope you’ll join us Thursday afternoon!  I’ll do a post-session blog post and share with you our collaborative dialogue and thinking.

A Visit to Discovery High School: Rethinking Learning Spaces and Learner Experiences

We are preparing for a redesign of our media center learning space at Chattahoochee High School.  Having gone through this process with my friend and colleague Jennifer Lund the last year and a half at Norcross High, I knew that a visit to her new school, Discovery High, in Gwinnett County, was a “must do” when looking for inspiration.  This brand new school that spans 640,000 square feet and just opened in August features a focus on project-based learning with four different learning academies within the school.  The academies include:

  • Business and Entrepreneurship program
  • Health and Human Services
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
  • Fines Arts

I was especially interested in the media center space Jennifer envisioned and designed with Holly Frilot, formerly an Instructional Coach in Media Services for Gwinnett County and now Supervisor of Library Media Education in Cobb County Schools.  Jennifer drew upon many of the design elements we had crafted for Norcross High, but she was also able to incorporate some other interesting elements.  The majority of her furniture is designed for active and collaborative learning with small and large groups, but it is also flexible for individual or quiet kinds of learning activities.   The primary vendors for her furniture include Steelcase, Turnstone (A Steelcase company), Hon, and Artcobell.   Because we had field tested many of these furniture pieces at Norcross, we knew they were a good fit for the collaborative kinds of work (see previous posts from 2014-15) we did with teachers and supported the principles of active learning.   Discovery High is a BYOD school, and in the media center, they use laptops rather than desktops for instructional activities.  Here are a few glimpses of her library learning studio:

DSCN2296 DSCN2307 DSCN2308 DSCN2309 DSCN2310 DSCN2311 DSCN2317 DSCN2318 DSCN2321

DSCN2320 DSCN2324 DSCN2330 DSCN2343 DSCN2348

Another highlight of the visit was touring the Clyde L. Strickland Entrepreneurship Center, a space for students who want to learn how to start their own businesses.  Lindsey Brouillard, Language Arts teacher within the Entreprenuership and Business academy, along with program head Scott Allen, are working with students in a visionary learning space that features:

  • Pull-down garage doors separate the spaces classroom learning spaces (or they  can be left open to combine for larger common learning spaces)
  • “Restaurant” booths for  brainstorming and collaborative work
  • Individual makerspace areas within the larger makerspace featuring 3-D printers, an embroidery machine, banner and poster printers, and separate suites for creating their products
  • Mobile furniture that can easily be reconfigured
  • Natural materials combined with sleek, modern elements
  • Glass dry erase boards
  • Studio work rooms for small group work in different areas of entrepreneurship

Source: CBS 46 Atlanta

I saw students working individually and collaboratively; the common thread was a positive energy in which students were engaging in project based learning.  Other classes were using the learning space for virtual school courses facilitated by a content area teacher.  You can check out some of the rather cutting edge design of the learning space, inspired by the Georgia Tech Innovation Center and Chick Fil-A’s “The Hatch”, below:

DSCN2364 DSCN2365 DSCN2366 DSCN2367 DSCN2368 DSCN2375 DSCN2376 DSCN2378 DSCN2380 DSCN2382 DSCN2383 DSCN2386 DSCN2387 DSCN2390 DSCN2391 DSCN2393 DSCN2394 DSCN2395 DSCN2397 DSCN2398 DSCN2404 DSCN2405 DSCN2406 DSCN2409 DSCN2412 DSCN2413 DSCN2415 DSCN2418 DSCN2420 DSCN2422 DSCN2425 DSCN2426 DSCN2430

DSCN2428 DSCN2431

I apologize that some of my photos are a little bleary—I took over 200 photographs, and my battery was dying!  As you can see from both the media center and the entrepreneurship learning spaces, there was so much to take in and design elements to contemplate.  I definitely plan on incorporating many of these as we begin to work on our learning space taxonomy, sketch our initial ideas for floor plans, and continue developing our wish list for furniture that will support the kinds of learning activities we have started doing in the media center this fall and that we envision for the future.

Last but not least, I was very fortunate to get a special tour from Laura French of the Junior Achievement Biz Town and Finance Park.  I honestly don’t have the words to say how incredibly thoughtful this space is along with the partnership between Gwinnett County Schools and Junior Achievement.  I hope more schools will form these kinds of partnerships that can translate into truly meaningful experiences for young people!  You can read more about the partnership here.

A heartfelt thank you to Jen, Lindsey, and Laura for their exceptional hospitality!!!!  Their work has given me new ideas and inspiration for our media center learning studio redesign here at Chattahoochee.  If you are interested to know more, our good friend Steve Thomas of Circulating Ideas will be doing an interview with Jen and Lindsey for the show.  Stay tuned to his website for the interview/podcast!

Growing Learning Communities Through School Libraries and Makerspaces-Creating, Constructing, Collaborating, Contributing

Thank you once again to Jennifer Finley-McGill, David Kates, and the Independent School Library Exchange of Southern California for inviting me to speak at their summer retreat in beautiful Ojai, California.  I am grateful for their hospitality as well as my friend and hostess Elisabeth Abarbanel for treating me to a great week of fun, learning, and sharing!  The slides below are from yesterday’s presentation about the possibilities for makerspaces and school libraries.  Please note all links referenced in the session are live and accessible via the SlideShare post below.

 

Save the Date: Atlanta Mini-Maker Faire!

If you are in the Southeast, I want to invite you to come to the 2nd Annual Atlanta Mini-Maker Faire on October 6, 2012 from 10AM-5PM.  This extravaganza of fun, play, creation, and more will take place at The Tech Walkway at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.  Admission is free, but you’ll need to register for a ticket by going here.  Learners and makers of all ages are invited to come and participate–check out the awesome lineup of 2012 Makers that you’ll get to meet and experience!

I’m honored to be part of the fun and festivities as I share and present “Libraries and Makerspaces”; here’s a short preview of my booth and session I’ll be sharing throughout the day:

Buffy Hamilton aka The Unquiet Librarian will give an exciting presentation on Creating Communities Through Libraries and Makerspaces: Come learn how libraries are inviting participation and generating enchantment by crafting makerspaces for their communities! This presentation will share exciting and innovative ways that academic, public, and school libraries are encouraging a spirit of play and lifelong learning through makerspace culture.

I hope to see you there in October!