Sunday, January 22, 2017

Makerspace Scheduling

Scheduling has been a conundrum since we started our school makerspace. The vision was to offer a space where any student could come in and explore a makerspace session. Scheduling is an issue because we can not interfere with students existing class schedule, and we can not add to the school's tight schedule. At first, we opened our makerspace as a before school club that met once a week by grade level. We also offered students a chance to work in the makerspace during the day once a week at recess. Students could choose to stay in an work in the makerspace instead of going to recess one day a week. We called it alternative recess. In the beginning this worked since few students signed up and all of the material was new so it a novelty. But after 2 years of offering this schedule it no longer worked.
Our makerspace became so popular sessions would fill up with in an hour of being posted. I began to hear comments like "I hope I can make it into a makerspace session this year," and "When will the application come out I'm going to turn in my child's application to you the day I receive it." We grew the second year from serving 75 students to 150 students. We were seeing students before school four days a week and during recess two days a week and we still were not serving 1/2 of the total population at our school.
So, this year our makerspace is open to 100% of all of our students. Instead of having before school clubs and alternative recess, one library lesson a month is dedicated to being a makerspace session. Six to eight sessions are set up and students can select from Engineering, Robotics, Re-cycled Craft, MinecraftEdu, Coding, Bloxels, Osmo, and etc. Students are able to choose one thirty min session to complete a mini-project or explore a topic. Non-fiction books that are related to the session are displayed near the table so students have access to the books to investigate more on the topic. This year students have a chance to check out makerspace kits to learn more about the topic of interest at home and this will solve the problem of not having enough time to explore a topic. Now that all students have access to our makerspace it solves the condundrum of scheduling.