Sunday, February 8, 2015

EdcampSTL...the Maker Camp

EdcampSTL was a big success and a great day of learning for the over 500 people that were there. Being an "orange hoodie" volunteer was again a great experience as we tried to make this experience the best possible for all participants. Was it but was it great....I would say yes. For me, the maker theme was my big takeaway. Three experiences during my day made making the biggest takeaway.

Experience #1 - The Kendeo Presentation - I had the pleasure of facilitating this session. Although we were not talking about physically making anything, the creative process was the central theme. I really loved how we were exposed to the roadblocks to our own creativity. After leaving this session, I began to think about the ideas I come up with and whether I truly act on them enough. I am going to make it my goal to ask for an "unbelievable" request and to completely act on my ideas. By doing this, I can use my creativity to "make" something unbelievable.

Experience #2 - The Making in the Classroom Session - Patrick and Rob (@midschoolsci and @rrambach) were truly impressive in sharing how the incorporate making in their 8th grade science classrooms. All of the ideas shared are easily replicated and that is what I loved most about this. I can take these ideas and share them with the teachers that I work with so they can hopefully bring making to their students. I also loved how they are blazing a trail at their school with coding. At that point of the presentation, they mentioned that only certain classes were participating but the success had parents asking why their children were not doing this in their class. Sometimes we need to be innovative and let there be a little outside pressure for other teachers to get on board. That is how change happens. The other thing I took away from this session was that you don't need all the fancy equipment to get students making. Cardboard, scissors, hot glue gun, etc. can be all that is needed for students to have a great maker experience. We all like the fancy toys...3-D printer...but we don't need it to make. That is big!

Check out their presentation here:

Experience #3 - The GCCA Makerspace - I absolutely loved the Makerspace! Having been there once before, it was great to see how it has changed and evolved. I came at the end of the day which was much less crowded. Because of that, I was able to chat with the representative from Pixel  Press and see all the cool things they are doing with game design. As a lifetime gamer, I was thrilled to see how easy it can be for students to create their own games using Pixel Press. I plan on exploring this much further. Just being in the makerspace brought me inspiration for how I can help make this more of a reality for the schools I support. It is just an unbelievable space!

I left EdcampSTL with a renewed sense of my own creativity and a mission to use it more than I currently do. If we all tapped into our creative genius, just imagine what we could accomplish!

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