Book Reviews

Makerspace Playbook

One of the best things about this e-book is it's free. This book simplifies and takes the mystery out of the idea of a makerspace. "Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes." This is stated early on in the book. As a creator of a makerspace, it put me at ease.  It's a gathering point for tools, community, and education. Sounds like a cozy place where I would like to hangout. This books does an excellent job of describing the space, the roles of those in charge, and the maker. The best part is anyone can be a maker. This book is created by the same people who operate Maker Faires across the country, another growing phenomenon. The key element of any maker faire is it's a place to share your work and collaborate with other makers. I recently attended a maker faire in Austin, TX and it truly was a great place to network and share ideas. Makerspace rules, material list and resource list are also given in this book. If you want more information they direct you to the website makerspace.com and there you can find out more about makerspace networking, project library, learning lab, tools, training and support. Click here to down load the book. It's a great read!
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Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom

"To understand is to invent" ( Piaget, 1976) this quote is found on the first page and through out the book, which focus on children creating and inventing to learn. The title of the book is a perfect fit. This book explains that children need to tinker, play, and given opportunities to invent, so they can learn. Students remember projects and collaborative groups not worksheets and pointless facts. Makerspaces are giving us an opportunity to rethink how we teach, as we try to get our students ready for the competitive ever changing "real world." Making gives students a chance to take ownership of their learning even if what they create isn't perfect. Making also gives them confidence to trust themselves. In a world of high stakes testing, this is a refreshing book to really think about how students le arn.
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Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level

As an educator I've asked many times, how can I motivated my students? I think Genius Hour or 20% time may help answer that question. Pure Genius reminded me of the importance of student voice, collaboration and leadership. 20% Time or Genius Hour gives students a chance to discover their passion and learn more about it, create something and then share it with the world. Allowing students choice will empower their voice and it will help build leadership. If students learn how to be effective leaders they will learn how to build up leadership in others and it will be an infectious great learning environment. Collaboration has always been an important part of my library program. But, I was always concerned about collaborating with the teachers as they brought students to the library. To prepare students for the real world we need to make students collaborators and they need to experience learning from experts outside of the building. As things are ever changing in this fast past world students need to see their instructors and teachers are learners too and can learn new things with them and from them.

This is an informative book to help plan a Genius Hour program. It also does a great job of giving other resources to look at as your building your program. It has a lot of the same educational philosophies found in current professional development Makerspace and STEM books.

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