Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Created A Little Makerspace To-Go.....It Even Includes A Makerspace Mobile Too!

On Monday and Tuesday of next week I have the honor of presenting to a variety of educators including administrators, teacher librarians, technology coordinators, and classroom teachers at the TIES Conference in Minneapolis.  My presentations focus around makerspaces and the importance of the make movement and these spaces in education.
By definition makerspaces are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more. 
I love seeing what my friends and others are doing with makerspaces. It was so much fun to create one in the library at Van Meter.  I have helped teacher librarians and educators in Texas, Colorado, and other places around the country with their makerspaces.

They are everywhere and it is exiting to follow this movement that is creating change within communities, education, and especially the lives of our children.

As I prepared to come to Minneapolis for the conference I sat at the kitchen table in our loft coloring and playing with the Chromville app; organizing a bucket of LEGO's; and looking through a pile of new books about creating with duct tape and recycled goods.  There are spaces throughout our place that serve as tiny little and on our devices too.

I thought to myself, "I wish I could bring all of these things with me to the conference so the superintendents and principals could play on Monday and the teacher librarians could create on Tuesday.  I wish they could see all of the wonderful things that can be included within a makerspace. It would have such an impact on them.  They could really see and feel the importance of creating, inventing, and learning." 

Then it came to me!  Why not make my makerspace "to-go"?

I was pretty sure I could create a space that would bring the "make" to these amazing educators I will be with next week.....and be with me wherever I want to take it.

In fact, a makerspace can be any size.  It can fit anywhere.  It can contain anything too.  The sky is the limit when it comes to a makerspace, just like our creativity.

And most of all....a makerspace can occupy an area in the library, a corner of a classroom, an old office space, a closet, a cart....
even a bag to make it "to-go".

I got out the largest bag I could find that would travel well with us on the airplane and through Iowa and Minnesota.  It is fabric and has giant pockets all through the inside to hold things and keep them organized.
I have been gathering materials together for the last several months.  It was a great feeling to get them all together in this new makerspace.  I couldn't wait to share it with Hagan and my new friends at the conference.

So just what have I included in my makerspace to-go!
There are makers, colored pencils, drawing and painting paper, tracing paper, colored paper,
 crayons, wooden beads, glue, tape, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, low heat glue gun,
 painter dabbers, paper rolls, a Makey Makey kit, and lots of beautiful books to share.
Andrea Beaty and David Roberts have brought us two of my favorite books about makers and tinkering, Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect.  These are perfect to read aloud and share with children and adults alike.
Along with the makerspace to-go I created some new folders of apps on my iPad to include in the space.

I named this folder "Makerspace Mobile" and added it on my iPhone too.
Hagan and I love building with LEGO's and one book we love using while building is The LEGO Ideas Book...Unlock Your Imagination.  With this book, 
I threw in several bags of LEGO's
and put some great LEGO apps in the Makerspace Mobile folder.
Hagan has fun playing LEGO Junior on his iPad and using the LEGO Instruct app while building.
The book Photo JoJo has tons of ideas of photo projects and DIY ideas.
With this book I included a small digital camera and made sure I had the iPhoto app and several other fun photography apps on the devices.  
Of course there had to be lots of duct tape in the makerspace to-go and the book Stick It....99 DIY Duct Tape Projects.
Hagan and I once found this little robot splitter for headphones so I threw this in the makerspace to-go, along with a couple pairs of inexpensive ear buds for the music creating apps like GarageBand that I have on my iPad and iPhone.  
Or perhaps just for listening to music as you work away too. 
This super cute felt puppet set will be fun for creating plays and pretending.  There are a couple of apps on the iPad and iPhone that will be great for those who love puppets and digital storytelling including Puppet Pals.  
Not only are there games in Makerspace Mobile, there are card games in the bag and some dice.
We have several Sphero's we love playing with.  I made sure they were all charged up for the makerspace to-go and  
added a few of the free apps they have available. 
 These can be played from either device and loaded onto others personal devices.
Eric and Hagan had a blast this morning getting the Sphero's out of the makerspace to-go and playing tag.
I have also included lots of digital tools that can be used on devices or on a computer.  I put some flyers for in the bag to share and 
made sure there were apps in the Makerspace Mobile like Canva, TellagamiEdu
Animoto, LittleBirdTales, Comic Life 3,
 and Chromville, along with lots of the AR coloring sheets that go with it.
Since I have included print books in the makerspace to-go I made sure to include dozens of wonderful eBooks through MackinVIA website and app....
and Capstone Interactive app. 
I downloaded over 20 makerspace themed eBooks onto my iPad so they can be accessed easily. 
One of my favorite 3D printing books is Leo the Maker Prince by Carla Diana.  Carla visited our library last year through Skype...It was amazing talking with her about 3D printing, tinkering, and engineering.  
After the Skype we downloaded the characters from the book from Thingiverse and printed them on our Makerbot 3D printer in the library.  I love having these printed characters with me as I share Leo the Maker Prince and 
3D printing apps with others. 
With the Hour of Code coming up next week having lots of coding apps for the conference was important and these are so much fun for people of all ages.
Last year I created a Symbaloo called "Digital Makerspace" so I took this url and put it right on the makerspace page on my iPad.  These websites and online resources can now be accessed easily.  

I am very excited about my new makerspace to-go and can't wait to add more to it. I just ordered a 3D Doodler pen, a couple more Makey Makey kits, and a portable soldering kit.

Oh and Hagan had the idea to add wood and a K-NEX building set. I love that!

I know I will be on the constant look out items to create and tinker with while sharing with others around the country....and seeing what everyone is adding to their makerspaces too. 
The makerspace to-go will bring lots of exploration, fun, tinkering, creating, testing, failing, succeeding, collaboration, and happiness wherever it goes.

And especially with my little bestie anywhere we go.


  1. Amazing post thanks for this kind of thing we ate looking for to get things rolling in our schools thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you so much Melissa. :) I look forward to see what you are doing in your school too. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  2. I LOVE this! Thank you so much for all the ideas. We started Maker Weeks in the library yesterday as an experiment and my head is spinning with ideas for next time!

  3. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and ...