Author Archives: Debbie Hunter

Curriculum Makerspace Research and Readings

The Maker Workshop Online course


This is a 4 week course I am currently attending. It requires me to lock myself away for 1.5 hours of my school day each Thursday morning (and 2 holiday mornings), to listen to an amazing array of speakers, and join the ongoing chat that emanates from the keynotes. With 250 attendees from across the globe, it is intense learning! Twitter flies, chat rolls by with many fragments of conversations, and the hyperlinks buzz down the list.

My homework assessed task is to plan and put together a proposal to create a Maker Space for our Senior library in 2016. The Lunchbox Club is growing up!


Ready, set, go!

In order to revisit the links that flow from the chat, I am putting them here, and hope they might make sense to others as well.

Week 1: Getting started with Making – Big picture

Keynotes Tim Carrigan (Institute of Museum and Library Services) and Peter Wardrip (Children’s Museum, Pittsburg) Making and Learning in Museums and libraries

Thought Partners:

Exploratorium – the art of Tinkering, and especially Scott Weavers page! Let’s get going on those toothpicks and glue.

Maker Ed

NCSU Libraries

Instructables many guides on toy hacking


Making in the Library toolkit pdf – Resource lists of materials for Young Adult/Teen Maker Spaces

New book: The Participatory Museum by Nina Simon

Makerbook – A “hand picked directory of the best free resources for creatives”

Keynote: Mark Takano, Congressman “How the maker movement can drive the economy“, and Tim’s IMLS links

“This is the IMLS language – Museum and libraries have long been recognized as community leaders in providing engaging participatory learning experiences.  Many museums and libraries have developed makerspaces, places where people can gather to create, invent, and learn, empowering them to become creators, not just consumers. They provide access to a diverse range of tools and technologies, along with knowledgeable staff and mentors. Museums and libraries are leveraging their content expertise and role as trusted community organizations to support the development of 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, which are essential for the development of a competitive workforce and engaged citizenry..- See more at:

A key quote from Newsweek article: THE MAKER MOVEMENT is a global community of inventors, designers, engineers, artists, programmers, hackers, tinkerers, craftsmen and DIY’ers—the kind of people who share a quality that Rosenstock says “leads to learning [and]…to innovation,” a perennial curiosity “about how they could do it better the next time.” The design cycle is all about reiteration, trying something again and again until it works, and then, once it works, making it better. As manufacturing tools continue to become better, cheaper and more accessible, the Maker Movement is gaining momentum at an unprecedented rate. Over the past few years, so-called “makerspaces” have cropped up in cities and small towns worldwide—often in affiliation with libraries, museums and other community centers, as well as in public and independent schools—giving more people of all ages access to mentorship, programs and tools like 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters, microcontrollers and design software

The MakerLab is open to all audiences, not just teens.  The YouMedia Space is the teen lab.  I would recommend the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums report to see more what they are doing specifically for teens.” Thank you Peter Carrigan!

Week 2: Projects to get you started


Endless ideas in a context from Mark Frauenfelder, and Alexandra Welsman McDowell: Spoons Across America

Links from the chat:

Lots of talk about personal favourites, and 3D printers. I like this website of 3D printing ideas for kids

Arduino website, and a good explanation guide to understanding the code here.

RaspberryPi website for kids

Spoons Across America are creating amazing programs for kids to cook in the classroom:

Edible Schoolyard

Farm to School Network

Centre for Ecoliteracy







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Curriculum Makerspace Research and Readings

High Possibility classrooms

Look at this short video they showed at the opening of EduTECH – the rate of change is quite mind blowing … are you keeping up? (From Dr Jane Hunter’s newsletter here)

Optimized-V2_High-Possibility-Classrooms_Dr-Jane-HunterOne of my favourite sessions at the recent EduTECH 2015 conference held here in Brisbane was a workshop by Dr Jane Hunter, titled High Possibility classrooms: What do teachers focus on when they integrate technology in teaching and learning?

Based on her research paper with a book recently published, Technology Integration and High Possibility Classrooms, she had examined the new research through the question: ‘What’s happening in school right now”, through case studies of 4 teachers over 2 years, evidencing occasions of Deep Play, intellectual play, time for deep flow of ideas and much more!

Across the 4 teachers, coding activities were showcased, QUEST Inquiry process was demonstrated, and several pedagogical theories were compared: TPACK, Productive Pedagogies, SAMR, model. Overall the focus was on the ‘sweet spot’ that occurs when Content, Pedagogy and Technology combine.

All my favourite educator theories were embedded in this session: Papert, Vygotsky, Dewey, Gartner, Alan November and with mention to the more recent work of Anna Craft.

The learning looks different.. and needs to keep looking different in the classroom.

To close: Dr Jane Hunter’s blog is here
The High Possibilities Website is here

Latest newsletter is here, and includes some great summaries of EduTech2015 presentations.

Contact Dr. Jane Hunter through the School of Education at the University of Western Sydney for more information.

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Crafting Makerspace

Kinetic Sand play

Kinetic Sand is the perfect material for open-ended, non-directed play.  Children learn creativity and sharing skills with sand play.

Kinetic sand: What’s that?

Is it messy? Not sure… Is it conductive? Let’s see… Sandbox Manifesto? Almost!

Great excitement today as we opened our new boxes of Kinetic sand.

I was looking for an alternative activity to complement all the robots, tinkering electronics, Arduino bits and pieces to remind the boys that Maker Spaces are not always about electronics.
Sometimes we just want to kick back and enjoy each other’s company creating amazing structures, and testing our creative juices.

Success! With more sand next week, we will run a challenge to see how quickly the boys can create an Historical memorial that might reflect an aspect of  their own life… and there will be chocolate for rewards!
The sand is not messy.. it seems to stick together, and with our individual trays and tools to share, it quickly became a great collaborative lunchtime activity.

We purchased ours from the local Spotlight store, and I will be investigating the recipes readily available here and on Pinterest. We can’t have enough it seems!

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Curriculum Research and Readings

QUT STEM high school

A Twilight PD for teachers at QUT STEM High School

Every now and again an email appears in your Inbox that gets your attention. It’s not directly about Teacher Librarianship, or libraries, but it looks interesting.

Such was the case with the QUT Twilight teacher PD event “Learning with Technologies”, held on 12 May at QUT and hosted by the STEM High School Engagement team.

The program consisted of a panel of presenters form both schools and University faculties. Each presenter had 30 minutes to talk about what they were currently creating, or researching, teaching and asking questions about. Maybe they just wanted to share an idea from their areas of specialty in Learning with Technologies.

The program was diverse! Using Social technologies in the learning environment: exploring the ways that social media can contribute to meeting students in their own space to create a learning environment that fosters engagement in blended, online and flexible learning situations.

A demonstration of a flipped classroom in action, examples of Crowdsourcing in the classroom to gather information for problem based learning tasks, and the recent research in setting Multiple Choice questions, and how to enhance the learning with this method of questioning.

A wearable technology demonstration led to a keen discussion on classroom practice from both the panel and forum group. How to implement this practical and hand’s on learning? What is the relevance today?

An event such as this serves to remind me why we are doing Maker Spaces in our library. It is the unending enthusiasm and collegiality of a group such as this!

To offer a meeting place that feeds the thinking behind the mission of QUT STEM school workshops makes sense. To “seek to bridge the secondary-tertiary interface and provide students with an opportunity to understand the relevance of STEM skills in their learning and future” is a vital role school libraries can own, manage and drive from their library.

Quick links from QUT STEM:

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Opening a can of worms: Introducing programming

Scratch Map

Scratch Day is a global network of events that celebrates Scratch — and the young people who code and create with it. During Scratch Day, kids and adults gather to share projects and learn from one another.

In the meeting today I have launched the Competition for this term’s Challenge.
We are learning Scratch to create a 2 level game.

Suddenly I have keen boys wanting to use Kudo, Puzzlescript, Visual Studio, and a few more. Homework for me again!

I am feeling encouraged, however. I have the support of the IT department to allow the boys to load the program onto their student computers, and the Head of Middle School. The Boarding House is excited and I think we are off to a good start. A letter home to parents and the added development of a Team App to make it easier for parents to follow along.

As a beginner, I am learning with them. They are very keen to share with the entire group, and already they are making comparisons across platforms, and the rules are becoming elastic to accommodate their ideas.

Scratch Day is May 9th, 2015. We will offer activities on this day from our Library. Watch this space for more photos!

Ongoing to the conversation.. we’re on the right track:

May 10: Tasmanian schools to roll out Coding curriculum

Sharing our programming skills


Compared to Blockly… Scratch is….


A bustling, shared place


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Curriculum Makerspace

Exploring paper craft in Chigiri-e: A Japanese Paper Art

Chigiri-e is a Japanese art form that uses hand made and hand dyed Japanese paper called washi to create images, transforming into beautiful pieces of art.

I am always on the lookout for a new activity for our Lunchbox Craft space. I found this class in a Weekend hobbyists newsletter , and wanted to know more!

Kirie is the Japanese art of paper cutting and Chigirie is a Japanese art form in which the primary technique uses coloured paper (washi) that is torn to create images. The technique dates from the Heian period of Japanese history.

Essential equipment  Choose papers and colours  The project is under way  Simple, individual, engaging and very satisfying to create

Crafting opportunities in the Maker Space:

I am excited to be adding this craft to my program for The Lunchbox Club. I have gathered 6 kits of equipment, and prepared the templates to be cut and torn as required.

I am expecting that the boys will find it very engaging and somewhat relaxing for a lunchtime library activity. The materials are manageable for storage and allow for some self paced project work.
There is plenty of scope for creativity!

Ongoing and detailed workers can create a full picture over a number of weeks, while experimenting and exploring the technique can be accomplished in a short time with the card or garland activity. The skill is exacting, and gives a lovely insight into the culture of Japanese art techniques.

Curriculum connections:

This craft skill has a long Japanese history. The Instructor has even conducted the class instruction in Japanese as poart of the school’s Language lessons. However, in our Maker Space, we will firstly immerse in the skills and techniques that make the craft so unique, and then experiment and create a project to share.

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Curriculum Makerspace Research and Readings

I have a few ideas… but I want to hear yours too

“Lunchbox Club is really fun!” “Can we use the white cloth..” (for our Club Wall hanging) “How is this NOT awesome?” “..loved it- great opportunity to build awesome dragons!” “OMG! Yes!” (about 3D Doodler pens) ..and so on!

Starting something new

Starting an Inquiry task can be stressful!   but the final result is always satisfying!

Today is the first session of The Lunchbox Club for a new term. It will be a planning meeting from our Club website.

In keeping with my Maker Space thinking, I want to revisit the projects from last term. This will allow the boys to talk, share and reflect on the projects we began, and didn’t always finish last term. That’s OK.

I have spent this week revisiting my colleagues around the school to consolidate my ideas and thinking from last term activities, and continue to look forward. I need to connect with the feedback from others.
And today its time to hear from the boys. I love surveying this creative bunch! Pictures, ticks and words. How can I say that? Anything goes.

Love surveying this creative bunch!

Takeaways: A conversation with my ICT colleague, and coordinator of the Mecatronics Club for year 9 students is affirming. My introductions to Squishy Circuits and Makey Makey kits at the end of term 4 have allowed the boys in his new year to accomplish the program expected for 3 terms in one! That’s great feedback. I’m encouraged.

My thinking and pedagogy revisited: Working within the constraints of timing, library business and staffing, I continue to strive for Maker elements. Learning by doing, freedom to create freely and not within a specific time-frame. To allow students to explore, experiment, and learn from each other. To read about things and think projects through for themselves. To take risks and fail occasionally!
During this conversation with a colleague, the comment “That’s right.. Of course.. I must try more to let the kids go and create their own pathways. But I just like to see things get finished.”

Getting started in Inquiry learning

Inquiry Learning: As I work with teachers across the curriculum in their research tasks, I try to understand the requirements of each department, and their priorities for an Inquiry Learning approach. I am affirmed that Teacher Librarians have a good grasp of Inquiry Learning that is not always evident in these tasks. It would seem we have several ‘models’ operating in our school. This is important information as I focus on connecting the Club activities with supporting and strengthening Thinking and Design skills in our tasks.

In my interviews with teacher Joh Gordon, we try to identify some of the differences. 4 key questions are addressed.

(Video clips coming of these questions discussed)

“What is the Signature Program?”
“How does this program sit across our more traditional classes at BGS”
What are the great moments you have experienced in the program?”
“How might a Maker Space in the library enrich the Signature program in Curriculum?”

No Tosh model:

Kulthau model

Anecdotal model

Kate Murdoch reflection sheets

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“It’s vital your Makerspace reflects the culture of your school.”

Where Classroom and Maker Space meet.

The new Signature program will begin its planning in Term 2, 2015. There will be opportunities to address how we can develop projects with the program specifically to reflect design thinking principles.

The Classroom is a Sandbox? Love that!

Angela Maiers has created the graphic of the Sandbox Manifesto. It makes that essential connection we are seeking for our Library Maker Space that might link into classroom thinking.

It’s vital your Makerspace reflects the culture of your school. is good advice, and starts another conversation!


May 18: Students are hungry for code


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Makerspace Tinkering

A note about Geocaching

Teachers say geocaching can be a powerful learning tool that involves critical thinking, hands-on learning and active engagement.
Geocaching in Education

Farewell Geo Wombat  Ready to launch during teh holidays    Honey Spot stop during the cacher break.

We are organised! We have a website: The LunchboxClubbers, and 5 tags have been created to map, manage and share. We’ve talked about the local caches and how they can be found.

Wandering Wombat is our best traveller to date.. already 4900km away! 2 coins still to find a ‘suitable’ cache.

This term the boys have come to understand geocaching. We have created 2 Geocaches, and are yet to hide them, but have 5 tags with travel stories and Goals to send into the world.
We’ve talked about Global citizenship, responsibility and courtesies using the shared web space of our Club, and ethical searching and logging of finds.

The boys are excited by the accuracy and apparent closeness of the world when places become GPS points on the globe. Great Geography activity!

An interesting article here from eSchool Newsletter applies the thinking I have experienced this term.

Check out the education forums on the Geocaching website if you are interested in posting questions, ideas, sharing curriculum, and more.
The forums are a fabulous way for teachers to learn from one another and for Groundspeak to learn from teachers.

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Newsletter feature can keep your school community informed

Easter baskets

Focus on crafting our Easter baskets.

Dash n Dot

Chasing that robot!

Squishy Circuits

Play doh and LEDs go well together.

Makey Makey groups

Computers, wires and Makey Makey fpr grouped fun


Makerspaces provide libraries with the opportunities to create, experiment, and acquire or perfect new skills. In school libraries, the process of making demonstrates desired outcomes for 21st century learners and for learning as an overall process.

Makers are able to contribute, communicate, and collaborate as they connect, curate, and create. Makerspaces adapt with a constantly changing world and are at the forefront of a new culture of participatory learning.”  (Wong, T. (2013). Makerspaces take libraries by storm. Library Media Connection, 34-38)


The library team is always exploring new ways to nurture opportunities for the boys to learn. For The Lunchbox Club, a connection to curriculum is made through design thinking and a good dose of creativity. Sharing and experimentation are thrown in. Our slogan is: “What’s in your Lunchbox today?” and it could be anything and everything all at once every week.

Maker Spaces are part of a global movement. Through the Maker Faire, or a hacker space Meetup event, they challenge us to think, and make us want to solve problems. Together, and in our own unique way.

School libraries have been identified as great places to begin such an activity, and at Brisbane Grammar, we have adopted a model that is working for the Year 7 and 8 students, in the Centenary Library.

The Lunchbox Club projects come from the interest and curiosity of the students. We meet weekly, and offer an array of tinkering and crafty choices. While we are still in the early stages, we are gathering gadgets, learning, and developing the program based on what skills the boys wish to develop and share. There is always choice, and an opportunity to try something new each week.

The Club offers a taster of basic Electronics equipment in a variety of kits, and a range of required ability to achieve success. Makey Makey kits, Squishy Circuit kits, a Lilypad kit for future sewing projects and Arduino kits with breadboards and instruction sheets encourage the boys to share their knowledge and skills. There are plenty of extra batteries, LED’s and tubs of Play Dough to enhance the action. That’s our Tinkering table, and it is always available.

Additionally, each week we offer a focused skill to learn. Interested boys are currently learning about Geocaching. The ethics, the rules and the global connections that this activity can offer. Online, we are the Lunchboxclubbers, and the boys share our membership. Together we are logging our caches and managing the activated tags we have already developed.

Each tag has been given a digital story that the boys have written, and a group ‘Mission’ to send it on its way around the world. Our oldest tag, a ‘Wandering Wombat’, has already travelled to New Zealand, and is now exploring Europe. We map its course, and solve any problems via the website.

What’s next in the program?

eTextiles is sounding popular and some essential creative craft making. A look at 3D printing concepts and possibilities, and testing a 3Doodler pen is a close second! We will look at computer programming language choices using the Scratch website, and compare our findings with our own Dot and Dash robots, programmed and driven using an App on the iPad.

The choices are endless as we continue to develop this new Club venture.

Published in the BGS School Newsletter, February 2014
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