Brauer College transformed its traditional school library into a popular 'Maker Space' where students can learn new skills and work collaboratively to expand their curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving without being told to 'Shhh!'.
The school wanted to transform the library from a traditional, under-utilised learning space that was quiet and strictly supervised into a busy and stimulating hub where students and staff could freely engage in conversation, collaborate, create and learn new skills together.
Library staff relaxed their rules so that the library became a more welcoming learning space. They introduced a number of science and novelty gadgets such as a Newtons Cradle, kaleidoscope, Rubik's Cube and lava lamp to the library counter as a way of engaging students in conversation.
They began to transform the physical space by moving library shelves to open up the area and by creating a teacher resource centre in an under-used reading room. Second-hand couches and colourful bar stools were added to create a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
The initial emphasis on resources for the space was low tech and low cost with a Lego table, basket of wool and knitting needles, peg board, whiteboard table and chess sets. Library staff gradually invested in digital technology resources such as Makey Makeys and Little Bits to supplement the computer programs available on student devices.
Since establishing their Maker Space, Brauer College has been supported by grants from local businesses and organisations. The school now has two 3D printers and a number of Sphero robots available to students and it continues to add to its resources as funds become available.
The library has been dramatically transformed from an under-utilised space to an area that is in high demand before school and at recess and lunchtime. Students work together respectfully and interaction between the students and teachers as peers fosters a highly collaborative learning dynamic.
Brauer College has developed a reputation in Warrnambool for its innovative approach and the Maker Space is now a highlight of school tours. Local primary schools have been invited in for Making and 3D printing workshops and cross-age tutoring is developing between the schools.
The Maker Space is bringing multi-disciplinary thinking and learning to life and links are being made between curriculum areas across the school. Students are also becoming more self-directed and creative problem solvers and are thriving on learning by doing.
To find out more about Brauer College's transformation go to: FISO in Focus: Maker Space at Brauer College.
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