Local Makerspace Visits

The Makerspace at S.A.I.L: Surrey Academy for Innovative Learning, Surrey, B.C.

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SAIL Makerspace Resources, Photos by Michelle Davis

Coordinators: Lisa Domier de Suarez (district teacher-librarian/maker teacher) and Orwell Kowalyshyn

In April 2015, I spent the morning with Lisa Domier de Suarez, a teacher-librarian at S.A.I.L. Lisa is the only colleague I know who actually has the word “make” in her job title or description!  On my tour, Lisa described the S.A.I.L makerspace as “in beta”.  In other words, it’s constantly changing and evolving. At the time of my visit, the S.A.I.L. makerspace was contained within a glassed-in conference room that houses two 3-D printers and many other boxed resources that are designated for schools. When necessary, this makerspace can spill out into the rest of the Learning Commons space to take advantage of roomier quarters and table surfaces. At S.A.I.L. they have devised a clever means to protect these tables using sheets of wood and plastic clamps.  The S.A.I.L Makerspace is the perfect example of how to utilize the space and resources that you have available to accommodate maker activities.

Recently, Lisa informed me that S.A.I.L has now established a makerspace for elementary students at its K-7 school which is located at Brookside Elementary. According to the September 2015 issue of the EdCom Now, Surrey’s Educate & Communicate Newspaper, the S.A.I.L academies “offer a special focus on creating, inventing and tinkering in the Makerspace environment. Through inquiry and project-based learning in an interdisciplinary program, students explore real world topics that foster independent learning and critical thought”.

After spending a morning with Lisa, I was literally “brimming” with ideas, inspiration and new direction for a learning commons makerspace. Moreover, I left equipped with a long list of books and other resources to keep me busy and “makerspace motivated” for a very long time!

Makerspace Club in the St. Georges Secondary School Learning Commons, Vancouver B.C.

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Saints Makerspace

Photos by Michelle Davis

Coordinator: Marc Crompton, teacher-librarian

In April 2015, I visited my former colleague, Marc Crompton, in his newly updated Learning Commons at St. Georges Secondary School.  Marc invited me to visit during Arts Week, when they had a “visiting” makerspace set up in the Learning Commons. A former Saints student, and co-owner of one of the largest makerspaces in Greater Vancouver, brought in several resources such as 3-D printers and a laser cutter to provide Saints students with a makerspace experience.  I thought it was a brilliant idea to bring in a travelling/visiting makerspace as an introduction to what a makerspace is and how it can function within a library setting. It’s an excellent means to solicit student interest and to determine how such activities can function within a library/LC environment.

Marc recently informed me that this visiting makerspace sparked the idea for a maker club at Saints, which is now well-established.  This is what Marc had to say:

The maker club is up and running and there are a ton of kids doing wacked out things.  Hoping to have a booth at Mini Maker-Faire this year with a variety of projects and boys.  We are currently building a 1.2 meter geodesic dome, a 5 foot high 3D printed model of a robot, and a model of some soccer stadium in Europe.  I also have some boys hacking a Kinect to use a 3D scanner.  What they will scan and how they will use the images is still up in the air, but we’re having fun!  I’m writing about the club, periodically, on my own blog, if you want more info.

You can read about Marc’s Maker Club in his blog here: Adventures in Libraryland .

It was exciting to learn that this initial makerspace event has opened up new avenues for learning, invention and creativity within the Saints Learning Commons.

Georges Vanier Elementary School Makerspace, Surrey, B.C.

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Tinkerine 3-D Printer in the Georges Vanier Learning Commons, Photo by Michelle Davis

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Makerspace Resources in the Georges Vanier Learning Commons, Photos by Michelle Davis

Coordinator: Anna Crossland, teacher-librarian

This past October 2015, Anna Crossland, the teacher-librarian at Georges Vanier Elementary School, invited me to visit her Learning Commons and Makerspace in Surrey, B.C. My afternoon visit with Anna was truly inspiring! The Georges Vanier Elementary makerspace is housed in a former computer lab that is adjacent to Anna’s Learning Commons. This makerspace is well-stocked with exciting resources such as a Tinkerine 3-D printer, a brand new green screen and specialized lighting for video creation, Little Bits electronics, Makey Makey kits and many more items for hands on learning. You will be impressed by the “making potential” and organization of Anna’s makerspace collection, which you can check out in her Slideshare Presentation entitled: Vanier Makers: Space and Supplies. I appreciated Anna’s thoughtful, well-planned approach to her makerspace.  The amount of time, effort and “trial and error” (3-D printing requires a learning curve!) that has gone into this makerspace is evident.

You can read more about Anna’s 3-D Printer as a learning resource in the following article: “New printers adding a whole new dimension to learning in Surrey classrooms” in the September 2015 issue of EdCom Now, the Surrey Schools Educate and Communicate Newspaper.

Finally, to learn more about how Anna utilizes her makerspace resources as a part of Learning Commons programming, as well as to find out what she’s “up to” in her Learning Commons, follow her blog here: Georges Vanier Library.  You’ll be glad you did!