Where design, invention, and art meet, technology is used to create new products. The Maker Movement is increasingly gaining ground in education as it becomes clear that student interest and engagement levels rise in STEM subjects when there is access to “maker” environments and experiences. Forward-thinking schools and districts are converting unused wood shops and labs to makerspaces, yet teachers don’t have ready access to training on how to teach in these new environments.
To that end, the California Community Colleges (CCC) Maker initiative has launched with the goal to drive innovation in education, and ultimately to prepare students for success in STEM/STEAM careers that demand 21st-century skills. The CCC Maker project is awarding grants to community colleges for building makerspace communities, where faculty are trained to embed making into curriculum and employers provide internships—all supporting students as they explore, create and connect with opportunities.
The KCI and Foothill College are fortunate to have secured nearly $40,000 in grant funding from the CCC Maker project for creating a KCI makerspace to provide unique, hands-on learning programs for K-14 teachers and students. The funding will also support curriculum development and maker supplies. The CCC Maker project is now working with 35 community colleges across the state. KCI is positioned to take a leadership role in supporting Bay Area teachers as they learn about the possibilities and gain the confidence necessary to incorporate maker activities into their curriculum.
In addition to transforming part of the KCI building into a makerspace, KCI will also develop three for-credit course strands in Design Thinking, Computational Thinking/Computer Science, and 3D Design. Imagine classes where educators and students work together to fabricate parts using simple materials like popsicle sticks and hot glue, as well as using more sophisticated tools like 3D printers and programming. In this maker setting, teachers will gain the pedagogical practice to take projects back to their classrooms while working directly with each other and students.
For more information on the KCI makerspace project, contact Kyle Brumbaugh at ude.adhfnull@hguabmurb.