Smore Tech Week 3: Maker Spaces

Hi friends!

I know you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz in the education world about maker spaces. Before we talk about including technology in your maker space, let’s talk about “what IS a maker space?”

I like LOVE a tweet I saw from ISTE, from @JenLLavalle, quoting @smartinez (author of Invent to Learn): “Making is not a shopping list or a special space, it’s a stance towards learning.” I think  know it’s easier to focus on a shopping list than to change our mind set toward how we teach our students.

Recommended summer reading to help you think about maker spaces:

  • Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager
  • Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School by Laura Fleming


This quote from Laura Fleming’s book sums up the maker mindset for me.

The maker mindset is about moving from consumption to creation and turning knowledge into action.

Think for a few minutes about the ways we  use technology in education.  Are we allowing students to create? Or are we funneling them into an outcome that WE (as the teachers and experts) have chosen? Are we stuffing them full of knowledge, or motivating them to take meaningful action? And which of these choices do we think will build the best future for our students?


For today’s SMore Tech camp session, I’ll suggest specific ways you can use technology to allow students to actively create. Many of my suggestions are based on a presentation I made with my colleague, Angie Oliverson of the Ms O Reads Books blog.

1. Tech Makerspace Task Cards

When Angie Oliverson and I presented at TCEA 2015, we shared these task cards for iPads and these task cards for laptop or desktop computers. The task cards are Google Slides that you can print, laminate, and add to a ring at an area where you have iPads or laptops. Each task card describes a creative process step by step. This is the easiest way to add tech maker activities to your library, if you already have iPads, laptops, or desktop computers.

2. Tech Gadgets to Buy

There are lots of tech maker gadgets that I’d love to buy for our library, but don’t have right now. I’d love to hear from you on our Padlet for Week 3: Have you tried any of these? What worked well? Are there other great tech maker tools I should have included?

Little Bits

Mrs. J in the Library has created FREE Little Bits task cards, to guide students. She has also written a great blog post about the pros and cons of Little Bits. But to answer your first question, “No, students can’t shock themselves with Little Bits.” The base kit costs $99, and prices go up, depending on how many modules you want to purchase.


I don’t think you need task cards for Cubelets. Students should be able to explore and figure out what kind of robots they can create. The smallest cubelets set (6 blocks) is $159.95.


I am hoping to get several Spheros to use with my library enrichment groups next year. I’d like to combine the coding required to make Sphero move with writing stories about Sphero as a character.

Librarian Mindy Perry reviews uses for Sphero in the elementary school library here. You can buy Sphero on Amazon for about $100.

(The image includes an affiliate link.)

Makey Makey

Let them invent! One of my colleagues, Terri Eichholz wrote a blog post about 12 ways to use MakeyMakey.

The Makey Makey kit is currently $44 on Amazon (affiliate link in graphic).


How about a little art in our tech maker space?

When you buy an Osmo for $79.99, you get to donate one to a classroom free. As an educator, you are basically paying $79.99 for 2! It does include engineering puzzles as well. You can order it on Amazon, but I don’t see a way to get the additional donation for your classroom there.

Let’s talk about tech maker spaces!

Please stop by our Padlet for Week 3 and share your thoughts. Which tech tool would you love to have in your library? Which ones have you already tried? How did it go?

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    1. Task cards! That’s the answer I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much. I see two on the links to your blog. Do you know of a way that I can get more task cards?

      1. Jo, to get more task cards do Pinterest searches. Lots of teaching materials in there, and many are free!

    2. And now I see that wordpress does the linking FOR ME. Darn and a half that I am still on Blogger … 😛 :/

    3. Thanks for the shout-out! Did you see that Makey Makey is making a smaller, cheaper (albeit simpler) version called Makey Makey Go? It’s on Kickstarter, and I’m going to try it out, but if it’s half as powerful as the original, I think it could be great for schools and libraries. It’s about half the price!

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