We want to develop a center for innovation at St. Anthony school.
Every day more is written about makerspaces and the benefits these centers offer students. We have experimented with Makey Makey kits and littleBits in the past, but now we want to take a more comprehensive approach.
Our idea is to create a center for innovation in our school for the use of our students and the wider community. The components of this center are certainly up for discussion, but the important idea is to create a space for creativity and innovation in our school and a concept that can be shared with other schools in the years to come.
The most important part of this process is to have great partners. Right now we are working with a small brainstorming group that includes Luc Lalande, the director of the Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Ottawa, Tracy Crowe, assistant director of teacher education at the University of Ottawa, Marlaina Loveys of Blockheads and Allison Burnett from Algonquin College.
We also have a great partner in St. Peter High School. I met Rick Alexanderson at the Makerfaire a few weeks ago and we hope to partner with program this year. As a partner with the St Peter High School – http://www.petertherobot.com – initiative, we will be able to get training for our students and teachers. We will also be able to get some robots from this innovative program!
This is a terrific group to work with!
So…where do we start?
First, we need student teachers who are interested in developing this project. We are hoping that some of this year’s student teachers will be willing to volunteer at our school this year. Hopefully, they will also get placements at our school.
Then, we need an event! We are thinking of planning a ‘maker week’ at St. Anthony. Each day, our students would be exposed to another component of a makerspace – a 3-D printer – lent to us by Luc Lalande, a lego day with Blockheads, possibly a Caine’s Arcade contest (building with cardboard) and other activities and demonstrations.
The idea is to introduce something new every day in order to spark interest and new ideas amongst the students, staff and the University of Ottawa students.
From there, the students and staff will work together to build our own makerspace or innovation center. At this point, we would certainly need financial support to purchase the component parts.
The rest of the year would be devoted to learning how our students can benefit from this creative space. This will be new learning for all of us. It will call on the creativity and innovation of our students, partners and staff .
The result will be an innovation center for the St. Anthony community. Even better, we hope to come up with a model that can be transferred to other schools in the years to come.