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.