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It’s not a Printer – It’s a Piano By Kim Brand, CEO/President of 1st Maker Space, LLC Now that the buzz has faded from the urgency to have every student master 3D printing by 3rd grade (we did our part: training over 1000 kids how to use them our summer camps), it’s time to assess the outcomes of this experiment. Expectations are everything. In the case of 3D printers, the hype with which 3D printing was introduced far exceeded the reality. For a few thousand dollars what early adopters bought was a problem delivery device. I say that because we...

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And you’ll like it a lot better.   All of these items and were made on a laser cutter. 1st Maker Space began selling 3D printers in 2015 – what seems like a lifetime ago. We ultimately sold, loaned or gave away hundreds of them. We hosted summer camps, trainings and public exhibits for over 2,000 kids and adults. We still have over 40 ‘3D Printer cadavers’ we are giving away to creative students who want to turn the old bones into new electro-mechanical projects. (Send me an email if you are interested.) I’ve trained dozens of teachers on how...

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In the journey from infant to adult, the brain of a child is transformed by experiences. Some are accidental, some intentional. Parents are the original teachers; siblings and environment too. But schools play a critical role. The interplay of formal curriculum and the development of a child’s sense of self is the subject of research at Harvard’s Agency by Design Project. Agency is a measure of how ‘in control’ of their lives youth feel. I believe it is related to hope (what will happen in the future) and power (what can I do about it now.) I’ve thought a lot...

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Once a school has a makerspace, the stage has been set for maker projects that range in both complexity and content. From making a paper circuit to laser cutting awards for an upcoming event, every good maker project has some elements in common. 1. Relevance – Student choice and voice are an essential part of the maker movement because students are inherently more interested in something connected to their own lives and personal experiences. Relevance can also be defined by its impact. How is what they are making going to impact the school, community, and classroom? 2. Intensity – Maker...

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In a time where every moment in the classroom must be tied to academic standards, testing, and preparing students for a career, where does making fit? As I have traveled across Indiana, I have met many educators that think of making and makerspaces as an “extra” thing to do – whether it be a treat for students after an assignment is completed or a visit to a makerspace on the day before winter break. Rather than an occasional learning “treat”, I have come to see making and makerspaces as a necessary part of learning. From watching students create their own...

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