3 ways innovative schools advance maker learning for all

By Melissa Gedney, Digital Promise
July 15th, 2016

Forward-thinking districts are getting creative with makerspaces


In March 2016, Digital Promise and Maker Ed issued a call-to-action for school leaders around the country to commit to growing the next generation of American makers. Over 1,400 U.S. school leaders have answered the call by signing the Maker Promise. For many members of the League of Innovative Schools, a network of the nation’s most forward-thinking superintendents, this is just an acknowledgement of the work they have long championed.

Maker learning inspires creativity, confidence, and passion for learning in young people. So how do you sustain a maker program, and encourage the sorts of innovative action required for this? We identified three major ways how League leaders are making this happen.

Commit to providing opportunities to all students for making

South Fayette Township School District
South Fayette Township School District has makerspaces in every school in the district. South Fayette has a K-12 computational thinking initiative that embeds maker curriculum in learning experiences for all 2,500 district students in every grade. This year, the district’s second graders built their first computer using Kano Raspberry PI and then used text-based code to hack a game in Minecraft.

Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore County Public Schools has plans to launch a Mobile Innovation Lab, opening access to maker learning opportunities to over 100,000 students in 174 schools districtwide.

Empower teachers through professional development and leadership opportunities

Albemarle County Public Schools
Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, says it’s important to get to “Yes” when someone approaches you with an idea. That’s how a high school in the district came to have mobile tree houses in its cafeteria, designed and constructed by students.

Elizabeth Forward School District
This summer, Elizabeth Forward School District will host professional development events reaching hundreds of educators in eight states. Additionally, through its Summer Innovation Camps, the district will provide its 2,500 students with the opportunity to engage in maker learning.

Nurture valuable partnerships

Iowa City Community School District
The Iowa City Community School District will open makerspaces in each of its six secondary attendance centers. Supported by the Iowa City Community School District Foundation, these innovative learning spaces will help students to be better creators, collaborators, communicators, and critical thinkers. The pedagogical approach at each school will incorporate a creation station, mobile makerspace, and visiting “makers” or experts from the field.

Vista Unified School District
Vista Unified School District has a partnership with Qualcomm that established a Thinkabit Lab at the Vista Innovation and Design Academy, serving hundreds of students, staff members, and families in North San Diego County.

If you would like to join Digital Promise in scaling maker education in the United States, make your voice heard by signing up at today.

About the Author:

This blog post originally appeared on the Digital Promise blog: