by Lauren Carreiro – Dean of Students, Ashland High School
Last fall, our Unified Arts Department Liaison, Chad McGowan, (who also teaches a variety of technology courses at Ashland High School) approached me in my office and told me to get out a piece of paper and a pen. Little did I know, he was about to share an idea with me that would push our technology programming towards increased innovation and community based learning.
Chad asked me if I knew what a makerspace was and if I would be interested in supporting him in creating one in Ashland. When he described to me this space of innovation, creativity, problem solving, and just plain fun with technology, I was extremely interested. Chad envisioned a space for students of all ages to play, explore, push boundaries, learn new things, and work together. At first I had a hard time envisioning what exactly the makerspace would look like, but my quick Google searches demonstrated to me that a makerspace can truly be whatever you want and whatever works for your need and vision.
With tremendous support from various donations, including the Ashland Education Foundation Inc., Chad and the team began the exciting task of ordering materials and designing the space. Over the summer, he and several students cleaned, organized, and set the space to be ready for courses and more after school community programming this year. Just looking through catalogs of makerspace materials was fun to see the space come to life!
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to watch this vision grow and come to life. Watching students create an idea and actually make it happen is inspiring. In fact, the Makerspace Mentors shared their makerspace ideas at the MassCue conference this year- what a proud moment for our students to become the teachers!
Students are learning about new tools and how to use them, how to bring ideas on paper to life, and how to push their knowledge about technology and innovation. These are real world skills for our ever-changing world! The part that I find most inspiring is watching the high school students work with the younger students. They are true leaders with passion who model enthusiasm, creativity, and collaboration to our younger students. The students excite each other, learn from each other, and communicate and connect. And they do this voluntarily after school because they want to learn more! They make learning fun. Learning doesn’t always have to be teacher driven, and the educational landscape is changing to incorporate more of these real world connections through innovation. The Ashland makerspace team would love to connect with anyone who is looking to build a makerspace in their school or talk about technology innovation in education.
Lauren Carreiro is a Dean of Students at Ashland High School. This is her fourth year in this position after teaching math at Braintree High School for ten years. She is passionate about helping students succeed through fostering relationships, and connecting with her colleagues and inspirational leaders at MSAA.
Follow her @clockerdean
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