Makerspaces and Career and Technical Education (CTE)

 

What are Makerspaces and how do they help with CTE ? Think back to when you were younger and enjoyed a hobby or interest. Perhaps you enjoyed building or a craft. Maybe it was music or art? Or, if you were like me, perhaps you enjoyed electronic devices and games.  These are all examples of the Makermovement or Makerspaces.

 

Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares our youth for a wide range of high-skill, high-demand careers with cutting-edge, rigorous, and relevant educational experiences.

 

When Makerspaces- hands-on areas of creation and discovery in the learning environment, combines with CTE, great things can happen.  Think of this as technology blended with hands-on, skill-based learning environments.

 

There is a big movement in education today to bring more creation and hands-on time to students; to give students time to explore and learn from their personal interests (20% time or Genius Hour); and to incorporate learning through newer and cutting edge technologies such as drones, green screens and virtual reality.

 

The more I learn and develop my understanding of Makerspaces, the more I think, "This is what is good for students and learning." Tapping to our student's interests and allowing them the time and resources to discover on their own is the key to developing strong 21st century learners for our future economy. And at the same time this can meet many career clusters for today's Career and Technical Education initiative.

 

Let's take a look at some Makerspaces that can educate students for a range of career options.

 

Google Cardboard and View Master Virtual Reality

Virtual reality allows us to experience locations and worlds that we may not normally have access to. Using Google Cardboard or the View Master VR viewer are an exciting way to learn about new topics.

Here is a video demo of Google Cardboard:

 

And here is a video about Mattel's View Master:


Virtual reality (VR) is growing in popularity and this technology is going to be used in many careers and educational settings in the future. Soon, our students will be learning through VR and many careers will involve training and exploring through VR.

 

Stop Animation Videos

Animated film is big business. It doesn't take much to allow students to explore and create this technology. All you need are some props and an app such as the Stop Motion Studio.  Students can easily create an animated video and experience the full process of animation through this free app.

Watch this video:

 

As with most Makerspaces, this process involves combining the technology with hands-on creations. Involve students in the full process of story-boarding to filming to audio. These are great skills to have for any career in advertising, film or storytelling.

 

Green Screening and Film

I love how this young lady describes using the Do Ink app to film a video or take a picture using Green Screen effects:

 

Whether students are filming an interview, a public service announcement or even a personal narrative, this technology can help to superimpose the character into a location otherwise not possible. The Do Ink app makes the whole green screen process manageable. Even the green screen cost is quite reasonable.

 

DIY.org

This amazing site can help students to explore, create and try out a skill that they are interested in.

Explore being a business innovator or a solar engineer.  Whatever skill you try, there are how to videos, tutorials and examples. Students can upload their projects and earn badges along the way. I remember how much I loved earning a new badge when I was in Girl Scouts. This takes that experience to a whole new level for today's students. The possibilities are endless.

Reflection

If you could have explored a career in CTE or had the chance to try a Makerspace in your classroom, what would it have been? What was your passion when you were younger? Does your job today reflect your passions and interests from your youth? Personally, I love my job today and technology, science and education have always been my passion.