Thursday, June 9, 2016

Camp Make It, Makerspace & ThnkBox

Well I am back!!!  School is out but learning never stops for a teacher right?  At least not for me!  I have been hearing all this buzz about Makerspaces.  I went to an Edcamp in May (Another blog post coming soon) and went to a session on Makerspaces.  I have been reading about Makerspaces on Bloglovin, Instagram and Twitter.

So "Makersapce" is the new buzzword in education.  So when my teacher buddy approached me with this Camp Make It at Case Western Reserve University I just had to go.  It was a three day "camp" where we were able to collaborate, design and create anything we could imagine. We were first given links to check out and learn how to use the equipment that CWRU ThinkBox has.  I first looked at the equipment and started to freak out, OMG this was BIG equipment, like industrial equipment! I can't use that!!!   I was sounding like my students.  Ok I stepped back from my anxiety and told myself, I had to try, what did I have to lose right?  Ummm maybe a limb???  LOL 

So first we went to Thinkbox at CWRU which is a 7 floor Makerspace open to the public.  Very cool right?  

Day 1 - We broken into groups to make a group project.  I really struggled on this day.  I felt underprepared which I hate to feel.  I did not have an idea what I wanted to make let alone I was feeling so overwhelmed after looking at the BIG equipment we would be using to create our project. I was definitely feeling like a student..... a deer stuck in the headlights student.  So I just picked a piece of equipment that I was interested in, a 3D printer and hung with that group.  Ok I am still frustrated and terrified at this point.  The group decided to make a name tag that the student would earn badges or puzzle pieces that would attach to the name each time they completed a task.   Ok the next huge challenge was the software, Tinkercad (web based) and (downloaded a free trial) were two that we tried. Ugh talk about frustrated.  There definitely is a learning curve and I was at the bottom.  So a few people were faster learners and figured it out.

Here is an image of a 3D printer making a stand of some kind.  Very very cool!

Day 2 Ok We got it on the printer...but we had to make adjustments.  Trial and error but it was extremely cool to watch the machine work. Now I am looking around and all these people in the class are making really cool things and I am still at a lost of what to make, how to use the equipment or where to even start.

 I do consider myself to be a creative person and enjoy being "crafty." Look I made this for my son with his prom pictures.

This is our finished product.  It was made out of glow in the dark filament (ink).  We had to make some adjustments and thankfully I had a great group of problem solvers.  Me not so much I was disappointed I did not have a project to make.

This was one group's final adjustable desk that could go from sitting to standing.  I am in love with this project and want one, maybe five for my classroom.  This project also inspired me to bring my hubby to ThinkBox on our vacation that is coming up to make me an adjustable desk.  He is very comfortable with the BIG tools and I am a great at "helping."  I can't wait he will be blown away at all the free to use equipment. Actually my son would love this too and then when I brought my project home my older daughter said she would like to go.  Wow my kids are fearless compared to me!

Adjustable desk compacted.

The camp was 3 days and I finally was able to make something.  One of our very creative members was kind enough to share her template she made on the laser cutter.  I stole borrowed her template put my own wording on it.  It would be creepy to keep her wording right?  Gosh more software to learn quickly Adobe Illustrated I tried to download at home the night before grr it took all night then I could not get it to work.  Ughhhhh I knew I could use their computers that has Corel Draw on them so that is what I finally did after opening and downloading my teammate's file.

This is the template on ThinkBox's computer which the public can also use for free.

I am starting to feel some success it is on the laser cutter etching the wording first.

Now the laser is cutting out the tree design.

Viola "my" project.  Isn't cute?  After my project was done I did dabble with the Corel Draw software after seeing another group's plexiglass lap desk that they etched wording into.  I did not produce it since it was getting late but I honestly will go back and maybe make one or two with my hubby holding my hand.  LOL

My take away from "camp"...
1.  I definitely want a Makerspace in my classroom even if it is small. Maybe they can take apart an old computer or electric stapler, work with Legos (garage sales here I come) or I can create challenges they can complete at that table.

2.  They can use that area if they finish early or I can add it to my science stations.

3.  That a challenge can be extremely frustrating but when you succeed no matter how small it is such an amazing feeling and I want my students to feel that success too.

4. I constantly complain that kids in my classroom can't problem solve even the smallest issues and this will definitely help to learn that skill.