To makerspace or not to makerspace? That is the question I have for my “future” library.

When thinking of what my future Elementary school library could look like, I immediately considered the physical aspect of the library because, let’s face it, that’s what kids would see.  If the area is inviting, comfortable, aesthetically appealing in space and colour and loaded with interesting books then I might have a chance of luring children in so that, unknowingly, they could learn something and, hopefully, check out a book or two.  So, I had to consider what I could possibly do that might interest them.

Graphic novels!   At the moment, they are the answer to a lot of my questions!  My student is learning to read and struggling, what can I do?  Graphic novels.  My student doesn’t like reading, what can I do?  Graphic novels.  I can’t get my students to read in French, what could I possibly do?  You got it…buy some French graphic novels (FYI, they are loving the Babysitter’s Club in French!).  But, I can’t keep relying on graphic novels to solve all my ills; although, in all fairness to today’s graphic novels, they are far more complex than the love triangle between Betty, Veronica and Archie.  Eventually, the graphic novel charm will wear off and my future library will need to offer something of greater substance to maintain excitement and engagement of learning.  So, I had to think of something else children love that would keep them learning and engaged and, not surprisingly, my mind went to computers.

Computers…good or evil?  Well, maybe a little of both.  Can computers help learning?  YesJ  Can they hinder learning?  Yes L  This is the constant struggle classroom teachers have when allowing computer use as it’s difficult to monitor 25-30 kids at once.  Thus, I know that my challenge would be in developing activities that would promote proper usage of the computers and/or internet so that the children would not be tempted to sneakily pop over to an online games website.   Of course, it always benefits the students when a teacher is really passionate about an area of teaching and for me, that’s science (well, I also love teaching grammar but it would be a struggle to sell that concept as fun and engaging!).  Ok…I think I’m getting somewhere.  The library is full of science books and I know kids love computers so it begs the question, how can I combine these two ideas and I came up with …a Makerspace.  But, I need to more.

When I started researching more about Makerspaces I realized I knew very little and questions started swimming in my brain: does it have to be a digital/computer-based makerspace?  Should it address kinesthetic learning?  How about combining technology and digital learning?  How would I go about that?  How big is a Makerspace?  Can it help teachers cover some of the science curriculum?  Does it need to be guided inquiry?   If it’s not guided, how do I ensure meeting the curriculum outcomes?  What kind of materials do I need to develop provocation of thought/ideas?  And, the questions keep coming.

So, this is where I am leaving this blog with the question: To Makerspace or not to Makerspace?  Next, I need to figure out if this would be a viable option for my future library and how I would go about developing this space.  I also need to discover if I could create a Makerspace that could connect digital and hands-on learning.  And, if all of this was possible, how we (students, teacher and me) would go about evaluation this learning?  Sans oublier, que j’aimerai le faire en anglais et en français!

Stay tuned…I’ll be back soon with some answers to those questions!



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