I recently presented an in-depth session at the TIE (Technology & Innovation in Education) Conference in Rapid City, SD. This was my first ever in-depth presentation (4 hours)! I’ve done two break out sessions in the past (less than an hour), some short professional development sessions at my district, and taught a Google class for credit.
Leading up to this year’s conference I was unsure if I wanted to present, but I was leaning towards a break out session again. While I was at the Systems Change conference in the fall, Sherry Crofut @SDSherry challenged me to do an in-depth session. I took on this challenge and was accepted to present about “Makerspaces for Student Learning” as an in-depth session. Thankfully, Travis Lape @TravisLape shared his wisdom and experience with me as I prepared. Facebook reminded me that 2 years ago I was having my first-ever makerspace experience at a TIE in-depth session led by Travis Lape!!
I actually get kinda nervous about presenting to other adults, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this leap. During March & April I participated in the #IMMOOC, an online ‘course’ that focused on The Innovator’s Mindset, a fantastic book by George Couros @GCouros. I also started gathering more information and resources for my presentation on Makerspaces.
The week before my presentation I had my students share some feedback about our Makerspace. I asked them why they loved makerspace and what advice they would give to others who may want to start their own makerspace.
As I was creating my presentation for my session I had one of those DUH moments, where it almost feels as if an idea knocked you upside the head. I was reading over some of these comments from my students about what they love about makerspace:
…when I finally made the connection between makerspace and the Innovator’s Mindset! In his book, George identifies “8 Things to Look for In Today’s Classroom” and they include : 1. Voice 2. Choice 3. Time for Reflection 4. Opportunities for Innovation 5. Critical Thinkers 6. Problem Solvers/Finders 7. Self-Assessment 8. Connected Learning (page 116). Through our makerspace students and teachers were participating in all 8 of these things identified by George Couros. I immediately added in some slides about the Innovator’s Mindset and George’s book.
I was still nervous for my session and doubting my experience… was I qualified to give such a presentation? Would it be any good? Would people learn something?? Then I started preparing the portion of the presentation with advice from my students to others who may want to create their own makerspace:
As I organized this slide and read through my students’ responses again, I realized I should take their advice too! I was afraid of failing at this presentation… but really I just needed to TRY. I needed to tell our story, learn about my audience, and just do it.
When Sunday came around I was so excited to be setting up our Makerspace to share with others. Each station or activity has different memories about fun learning with students. I started off the presentation with WHY, I shared HOW, and then I gave everyone time to make, just like my students and I do. I made some great connections with other educators and leaders.
Presenting this in-depth session about Makerspace was a rich learning experience for me. I am so thankful for the Makerspace at Spearfish Middle School and the students who I get to make & learn with every week.