Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finding Our Creative Spark

Creativity and innovation are words often thrown around in education. People talk about how creative something was or how we are instilling a sense of innovation in our students. The reality is that very few of these moments are truly innovative. Instead, they are moments where we tried something new simply for the sake of trying something new rather than making something better in the cause of advancement. In fairness, I was just as guilty for throwing these words around as the next guy. However, I strongly believe these words, when used correctly, can speak volumes to so much more. In my own experience, our Media Center has led me towards this understanding through the creation of our MakerSpace.

Back in September our Media Specialist (@jpilgrimmayo) pulled me aside and asked if we could reallocate some space in our Media Center for a MakerSpace. In all honesty, I had heard only pieces about makerspaces in passing but anytime you lead a conversation with "I want a place for students to play, create, and learn" you have got me hooked. After some discussions we went upon the task of setting up our MakerSpace. The Media Center found economical ways to get students involved in the basic process of creating and learning, both individually and collaboratively. Since its inception students have been invited to create sculptures from paperclips, to color, to write Haiku poems using Haikubes, and to create anything they wish using Lego blocks. 

Legos in Motion


Beginning in November our students and staff have undertaken the task of collaborating on the newest project: the Book Igloo. Students and staff members are working to build an igloo entirely out of books. The project requires participants to plan, collaborate, build, adjust, and reflect for a successful build to occur. Currently the igloo is on its third attempt, which may actually be the best part of the project. Our students and staff are learning that it is OK to fail; in fact, we are encouraging it! For true creativity and innovation to occur we know that the endeavor will have setbacks. The innovation will come not from the first, second, or maybe even third build, but rather from the attempts and the learning that occur. 

The Collaboration Board

Book Igloo Attempt #3 (Mid-Construction)