Have you heard of Maker Spaces? Viewed as the classroom of the future, they are the ideal adolescent learning environments. Complimenting a student’s need to be physically engaged in their learning, these dedicated spaces include access to all kinds of materials and tools – from traditional workshop tools and art supplies to cutting edge technologies like 3D printers, iPads, CAD software, and more. Students work collaboratively to explore topics and projects together that build connections to real-world applications.
A Maker Space easily embraces all kinds of STEAM activities – as an innovation space; you will find robotics and circuitry alongside quilting, sewing and screen printing… Bunsen burners, beakers and safety goggles can be found as easily as pottery wheels, painting easels, and photography darkrooms. Try your hand at producing a video or music production; or work together to plan and build a hydroponic garden.
Learning by doing is the key to any Maker Space – and this is at the core of what we embrace at the NH School of Applied Learning. Applying thinking skills in a hands-on, active way integrates deep academic and rigorous content that connects school to life in the real world, fosters sharing and collaboration, and gives students a reason to learn.
A Maker Space like the one we have integrated into our middle school provides the tools, materials and technology that define the classroom of the future – and it’s exciting! Students use their skills in a variety of ways, taking on different roles within groups and exploring new social relationships with their peers. Applied Learning actively satisfies the adolescents’ need to move, while lab activities such as industrial arts, home economics, and business entrepreneurship create a bridge to core academic principals and curriculum.
Applied Learning like the kind that happens in a Maker Space allows students to make connections with – and an impact on – their community. Young people want to make a difference in the world, and the classroom of the future helps them to see how their skills and ideas in the areas of physics, architecture, engineering, culture, history, transportation, ecology, technology, art and business can do just that.