Albemarle County Schools’ Journey From a Makerspace to a Maker District #BacktoSchool
Schools to Makerspaces to Maker Districts. Here’s a success story via EdSurge.com
Superintendent Pam Moran and the whole crew at Charlottesville’s Albemarle County Public School system have received their fair share of press (from Makered.org to Edutopia) for bringing the Maker Movement to Virginia schools. Back in 2013, for example, NBC highlighted the district’s library-turned-makerspace. But Albemarle elementary teacher Andrew Craft is the first to admit that he doesn’t want maker activities to be confined solely to one room. “Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same,” he says.
A mish-mash of equipment—a Makerbot 3D printer, sewing machines, Spheros—sits around the library, atop tile floors that Thorson reports were laid to accommodate “messier projects.” Thorson also calls attention to “a collaboration room and a peer tutoring center” in the corner, and in the far back of the library, students in a music studio create soundscapes. In the library, any teacher or student is welcome to use the space as they wish.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.