Creating a Maker Space in our Facility
Great Barrington ̶ A maker space is in the making; Mr. Doren and Mr. O'Dell, the two main people in charge of the making, plan to have a fully functional maker space within two years.
Currently at Monument Valley Regional Middle school, a maker space is in the making. Mr. Doren, the principal at Monument Valley, said “Yeah. That’s the idea. That’s where we’re going, and that’s what’s happening.”
The start of the plan was put into action this year at Monument Valley by hiring Mr. O'Dell, the new Design teacher, rather than hiring another computer instructor. A computer instructor covers only computer-related topics, while a Design teacher covers more topics of which are maker space-like.
Mr. Doren plans to start with makerspace-like activities by next year, and then have an entirely useable makerspace. “I think next year, we’ll start doing small little activities with kids coming in and choosing to come in, and I think by the next year, we’ll have a fully functional makerspace,” said Mr. Doren.
But, right now in the woodshop, there are huge robotics tables blocking off useable space. For the past years, it has acted like a storage space for old unneeded objects cluttering and filling up space that could be used for innovating.
Mr. O'Dell along with Mr. Doren want to see the space used more efficiently, and cleaned out, before they can figure out what to add to it. “I think, before we bring more machines in, you know, I’d like to see it functional… so before we bring anything else in. I would like to see what is actually obsolete,” said Mr. O'Dell.
But also, while cleaning out the workshop, Nick , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, pointed out it could be added to at the same time so it is completed faster. “I think the woodshop/design lab should be made into a makerspace so it would be used more efficiently than it is now,” said Nick.
Schools all throughout the country have been adding maker spaces into their facilities. Not too far from Monument Valley in North Adams, Bart, a charter school, has a makerspace incorporated into their facility.
Andrew , an old student of Monument Valley, switched to Bart. “Having a maker space comes in very handy, and is a nice resource to have right near our classroom. Because of this, art and technology projects are made much easier and much more fun which leads me to say that the maker space at my school is something I like very much,” said Andrew.
At Monument Valley there are students supporting a maker-space, and some where it just isn’t their thing. James , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley dislikes the Design class as it is now, and doesn’t believe a maker-space is any better. “I think a maker space would be the same, but just more advanced,” said James.
The other share of students though support having a maker-space in their school because it is free innovating. Andrew , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, likes how with a maker space, you can be creative and do your own thing. “You can kinda just do what you want, and create what you want instead of like, what a teacher wants,” said Andrew.
When asked about the cost of a maker space, Mr. Doren had no worries at all about the funding of making the maker space. “Yeah, I’m not worried about it at all, we thought about it, makerspace is really about designating the space. You know, we have lts of computers, a budget from a grant to buy 3D printers, like yeah, I’m not worried about that,” said Mr. Doren
Mr. O'Dell though goes into depth about where the money comes from. “You can apply for grant money from different organizations that are supporting technology, that are supporting maker space, that are supporting stem, initiative in schools, that could be used supplemental or additional money to fund it.”
The Berkshire Taconic Community foundation is one place that give out grants for educational, environmental, health and many other purposes, which is located not too far from Monument Valley in Sheffield Massachusetts.
When a fully functional maker space is at Monument Valley, Mr. O'Dell has plans for a different style of teaching. “I would like to give the people the latitude, or the freedom to explore the possibilities under some umbrella idea,” said Mr. O'Dell.
Hannah an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, agrees with Mr. O'Dell’s plan to teach in a way letting the students branch off in their own ways. Hannah said “I would like it if he told us a little bit, and then we could kind of figure it out for ourselves.”