Snider Makerspace: Setting Trends

Snider Makerspace: Setting Trends

By John Anderson


Snider is leading a trend in Makerspace, a place where students can take their creative ideas and turn them into reality.


Schools and libraries across America are putting Makerspace on campuses. Students spend hours in these rooms, trying to get projects finished or to make a prototype to jump start their entrepreneurial projects.


Teachers Ms. Lori Heiges and Mr. Joseph Willhelm run Makerspace, the only one in FWCS, which is hosted in the library. Students can get certification for Makerspace by attending a ten-minute after school  meeting. Once certified, students are free to use all materials except the 3D Printer, which takes more training.


Initially made for hackers, Makerspaces started as places for people to communally code things, or to hack. Now Makerspaces are places for students to test their ideas, make prototypes and make school projects.


The Makerspace website describes a Makerspace to be “arenas for informal, project-driven, self-directed learning, providing workspace to tinker and hear input from colleagues with a similar interest.”


At the new Makerspace, students have access to tools including 3D Printing, Legos, duct tape, coding and robotics. The prices for these range from 25 cents for adult coloring, to $1 an hour for 3D printing.


Heiges has seen many of the projects made at Makerspace. Some of her favorites are a Snider keychain made on the 3D printer, a duct tape wallet and sunglasses students constructed with the 3D pen.


Latin teacher Ms. Donna Gaul will be using Makerspace during Genius Hour. She plans to take her class to Makerspace and have them all certified so that during Genius Hour they may work on school projects. It’s an idea that she says “allows students to be creative and have a choice of the product they make.”


The name Genius Hour comes from a moniker Google uses for their policy of allowing their employees 20% of their time to work on self-directed creative projects.. At Snider, it translates into letting students have an hour of their school time to work on a project of their choice.


It may not happen this year, but some year soon every class could be using Makerspace just as they currently use the computer lab.


“I am sure one year we will focus on topic that can incorporate Genius Hour, Makerspace and other student choice formats,” Gaul said.


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