Since we had a day off from school, I went over to Maumee & Perrysburg to visit some friends and their learning spaces.
In the morning I met with Jason Dugan (@maumeetech ) at Maumee High School. He is a former Computer Science professional that got into education a while back and has enjoyed it. He has been Maumee Tech Director for three years, the same amount of time as the new Superintendent, and they have been making changes for those three years. They really seem to have a good vision for student learning and MakerSpaces. Jason started by giving the Art teacher a 3D printer and things have blossomed in the art room since then. They have been repurposing space (corners and storage rooms) for various purposes. One has an XCarve (CNC router), one has a recording studio. They have added more 3D printers, another a ZSpace for scanning items into 3D design.
Beyond hardware, it has been ideas and projects for the students. Design this, build this. AP Art has become MakerSpace class where the students need to submit 27 projects, and people can take it even if they have not had art before. One student who had not taken any Art before designed, built, and programmed a VR sandbox for the Middle School. The Art Room MakerSpace is open during lunch for students and many come to work on their own ideas.
Jason and Administration is working on expanding the idea of Maker. They are going to remodel the Media Center. One space behind glass walls will be a dedicated Maker Art Space. They will have multiple student collaboration spaces, as well as a central,open, MakerSpace. They have incorporated Maker into various aspects of their PD. MHS is also one of the few Ohio schools that teaches Computer Science, by having another former Computer Science professional run that and robotics classes.
We also went over to the Elementary. Jason showed me one of the 2 VR kits that they made (finding a certain phone, setup to go to the secure network so no need for extra router for teacher to mess with). They have MakeSpace after school and have had an awesome response, sometimes making it difficult to get all kids who want it. They have a 4 week STEM camp in June, with each week having a theme. There has been great response to this also
The most important thing they have is people with Vision. People that see making is important, and the student is more important than a test. If you focus on the student they will perform well on anything. Because it is part of their vision it is also part of their budgets.
In the afternoon, I went to Hull Prairie Intermediate School to hang out with Jason Hubbard (@jsnhubbard ). Hull Prairie is a new building this year and is a STEM designated school in Ohio. I also got to meet Julia Whalen (@MrsWhalenSTEM ).
We chatted for a while during his planning period and after school, and I watched 2 of his classes. They have a nicely designed building, as you would expect for new construction. They have lots of writeable surfaces, areas for student collaboration, TV’s on walls for presentations, various seating and tables, some rooms for presentations.
One of the more intriguing things I heard was that they got rid of their library….but wait. They have a couple of reading areas with a good number of books. Most interesting is that they partnered with the local public library for students to get books via the online card catalog. The library delivers 3 times a week (and the school doesn’t have to keep a large inventory of books and can use that space for other purposes)
The only flaw I really see is there are too many kids in one class. They have great demand for STEM, design, maker type classes. But it is very difficult to do projects with so many students and get them all the feedback they need.
Maybe Jason Hubbard and I can meet up again at Jason Dugan’s STEM camp this summer.