The target audience for this toolkit is maker leaders who are interested in professional development strategies for preparing future maker leaders in their community (teachers, parents, community members) and building the volunteer capacity and expertise for their space. Specific professional development activities and discussion questions are peppered throughout this site in recommended topic areas. The toolkit should also be useful to individuals interested in learning more about the maker movement, setting up makerspaces, teaching and learning in those spaces, and common projects found in those spaces.
This presentation was given on March 5, 2015, at the annual conference of the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NC-TIES), introducing attendees to professional development strategies for preparing future maker leaders.
The table below provides general suggestions for maker professional development based on Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning, with relevant tie-in's to sections of the toolkit. More specific professional development strategies may be found in units 1-4 of the toolkit.
|Standards for Professional Learning||Suggestions for Maker Professional Development|
|Learning Communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.||Hold maker professional development in groups that can plan collectively and debrief what strategies are working or not working and why. Communities may be small from one makerspace, one school, or one district, with regular face-to-face meetings designed to plan and improve programming, or communities may be large from many divergent makerspaces with educators coming together online to learn from one another (see Unit 1 for examples of maker communities learning together in both physical and online environments).|
Spend time in professional development discussing how projects can tie into student interests and support student understanding of traditional curricula and authentic applications and careers (i.e., goal alignment) (see Unit 3 for examples of tying making to the curriculum and real-world).
|Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.||The maker movement has deep foundations from educators who promoted student-driven, constructivist, hands-on learning, with contemporary software, hardware, and materials developed by university research labs and spin-off private industry encouraging and pushing the boundaries of student designs. Maker professional development should introduce these "skillful leaders'" ideas and products and encourage deep thinking about how to support recommended learning modes with modern technology (see Unit 1 for historical and philosophical underpinnings of the maker movement, and Unit 4 for examples of software and hardware propelling makers to create and design).|
|Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.||The maker movement is well described and discussed across multiple outlets and stakeholders. Use this toolkit as one of many resources to guide professional development for your makerspace, drawing from the recommended units, topics, professional development activities, and professional development discussion questions.|
|Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.||Makerspaces are widely divergent from dedicated physical spaces to mobile vehicles and carts to classroom shelves, with even more divergence in project emphases by space. The adage "no two makerspaces are alike and shouldn't be alike" is true and based on the belief that a makerspace should be defined by the interests and goals of the users it serves. Spend some time in professional development thinking about what student interests and learning goals you wish to support in your space. Collect interest surveys from students and teachers and synthesize these ideas during professional development to help plan spaces (see Unit 2 for examples of planning the "space" in makerspaces and outfitting your space with different materials and equipment).|
Evaluation data can be useful to help sustain makerspaces by illustrating program successes for would-be donors and volunteers and making strategic changes and improvements to programming (see Unit 2 for resources on evaluating makerspaces). Similarly, assessment data can be useful to understand what students are learning or not learning in makerspaces and how to improve programming, facilitation, and/or collaboration strategies (see Unit 3 for resources on assessing student learning in makerspaces, and strategies for facilitation/collaboration). Bring evaluation and assessment data into professional development to prompt discussion on topics like volunteer recruitment, how to promote the development of STEM knowledge in specific make projects, etc.
|Learning Designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.||Theories and models of human learning are plentiful with specific theories associated with the maker movement (see Unit 1). Research on "makerspaces" proper and newer tools like 3D printers is still quite limited, although related making activities like programming and building robotics has been and continues to be well-researched (see Unit 4). Spend time in professional development planning projects that integrate maker principles and research-based best practices where available in support student learning interests and goals.|
|Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change.||Use the resources in this toolkit to plan a program of professional development that extends well beyond practice with a single type of project. Yes, future makers need to develop some technical skills, but they also need to know about strategies for facilitating design thinking, for encouraging peer collaboration, for assessing student learning from non-traditional processes and products, and more (see Unit 3). Ideally, professional development will integrate these varied competencies authentically in the context of a real working makerspace, so future leaders can simultaneously build skills, practice facilitation, understand when and how peers collaborate, and what products of learning are most easily captured and analyzed. In this sense, professional development does not have to take the form of a standard after-school workshop, but can take place in the context of making with students.|
|Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.||As teachers are widely held to ever-increasing teaching and curricular standards, spend time in professional development discussing how projects can tie into existing standards and drafting associated plans (see Unit 3 on curricular ties and Unit 4 on project specializations).|