The Inaugural NAISAC Interactive Maker Space- Fun For All!

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I have now been working in partnership with NAIS since 2008 and have worked on a variety of interesting projects. This year, working with Amy Ahart from NAIS, we wanted to try something new and landed on the idea of creating an Interactive MakerSpace. With a nice space carved out on the exhibit hall floor next to the NAIS Bookstore, we were able to design a space that would foster interactions between participants and docents in the area as well as with many of the items in the space. These items included sample student projects from The Meadowbrook School of Weston, MA, 3D printing, Laser cutting projects, robotics, computer programming, electronic prototyping, micro-controllers such as Arduino and Makey Makey as well as projects made onsite.

Additionally participants were able to explore posters made from the information schools submitted for the Online Gallery of Independent School Makerspaces. Space and time limited the number of posters to the first 10 that were submitted. However, there are over 25 amazing schools currently listed in the online gallery and more will be added shortly. Additionally, schools are still able to submit their information to be added to the gallery.

The objective of the space was to create an engaging and interactive space that would provide information for participants who want to explore how this new movement might fit within their school. We wanted a space that would demonstrate many different aspects of “making” while helping participants focus on the importance of pedagogical considerations. Lisa Palmieri of The Ellis School produced a wonderful poster on the Maker Mindset. This poster was placed centrally in the space and received a lot of attention and generated important conversations. Additionally, all the posters around the space were well photographed and many read in detail. There appeared to be considerable interest in what other schools were doing in the area of Making and MakerSpaces.

Working from Dallas, one challenge of putting together a MakerSpace at a conference over 1500 miles away is how to equip and staff the area. This is where The Meadowbrook School of Weston was invaluable. Jonathan Schmid from Meadowbrook offered up an amazing collection of equipment and student projects which helped bring the space to life. Additionally, many of his staff came to the conference and worked the space as docents. Without the incredible help of Jonathan Schmid, Chris Lindsay, Matt Molyneux, Nathan Tanaka, and Rachel Shuler, (All from Meadowbrook) this project would not have been possible. Many thanks to these incredible people for their help on this project.

As participants were exploring the space, there was one question that seemed to keep coming up: How do we get started? While there is much to consider as you start to explore this new learning space and approach, there is some help out there in the form of the MakerSpace Playbook- School Edition. You can download a free PDF of this resource posted on Makered.org.


Below are some images and videos of the NAIS Interactive MakerSpace captured throughout the conference.

Here I am demonstrating the Makey Makey Piano that was made on site.

Sarah Flowers who is the Head of Ring Mountain Day School plays the Makey Makey piano and throws out the challenge for other heads of schools: Can you top this?

We do all of this for our students. Here the Makey Makey piano gets the “Kids Seal of Approval”.

Participants playing the Makey Makey Human Drumset. Proves to be fun for all ages.

 Collection of images captured at the NAIS Interactive MakerSpace

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Creating the NAIS MakerSpace- A Transformation of Space

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