Better Together Twitter Chat Recap: “What is the maker movement and why should you care?”

On Monday February 13, the Better Together team hosted our third #BetterTogetherCA Twitter Chat of 2017 with educator and founder of EmpowerMINT, Robert Pronovost. The topic of the chat was “What is the maker movement and why should you care?”. During the chat, we explored the maker movement as a prime example of project based learning in action.

Below is a recap of the questions asked during our chat, as well as questions, comments, and insights from the community.


Q1: What is #MakerEd, what is a makerspace, and why is this important? #BetterTogetherCA

  • #MakerEd is about creating a student-centered learning environment. It allows students to learn through hands-on work. #BetterTogetherCA
  • A place/mindset where people learn by doing, create using multiple materials with multiple people #BetterTogetherCA
  • Hands on learning, project based learning… makerspace is important due to the skills gap in manufacturing right now. #BetterTogetherCA
  • “Makerspace” is a place for people to make… in schools that is often a room where students go to create. #BetterTogetherCA
  • #BetterTogetherCA spaces to invite creativity, innovation-my oldest son is STEM/hands-on, PBL kid – loves to build and tinker
  • #MakerEd is important because it brings back some creativity and purpose to school, which makes kids want to be there. #BetterTogetherCA
  • #MakerEd is about authentic problem solving, hands-on learning, creativity #BetterTogetherCA


Q2a: If you’re new to #MakerEd what questions do you have?

  • What’s the value of a makerspace v. Making within the classroom? Maybe a both and? #BetterTogetherCA
  • #BetterTogetherCA I’m interested in cross-curricular applications that don’t lessen the integrity of historical thinking
  • #BetterTogetherCA I don’t want to create for the sake of the project – I want to maintain the focus on learning history through… hmmm


Q2b: If you’re familiar, what resources helped you get started? #BetterTogetherCA


Q3: What space can be used or what space do you have available to use at your school for a makerspace? #BetterTogetherCA #MakerEd

  • #BetterTogetherCA Our site hosts our district’s FIRST team – they build robots in what used to be a storage room
  • We have limited space at our school so it’s inspiring to hear about ppl being creative and using storage rooms! #bettertogetherca
  • #BetterTogetherCA – it used to be the soda storage room. 🙂 No more soda on campus = free space.
  • We have a new Makerspace at one school in our District. Hopefully more to come. We have Project Lead the Way. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Hmm maybe a special room houses special tools and then more flexible tools (and mindsets) are nurtured in a classroom #BetterTogetherCA
  • What about makered outside? Anyone have examples of outdoor makered? #BetterTogetherCA
  • I use my (small) science classroom for my MakerLunch. The idea is that there is a topic every month. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Any space can be #MakerSpace IMO it’s about mindset not space. Encourage Ss to use what you’ve got to create & innovate #bettertogetherca
  • Any space can be a makerspace, but you don’t need a specific #makered place to include making in your teaching. #BetterTogetherCA
  • That’s how I started! Tiny corner in classroom stacked w/recycled materials & few iPads for digital creation #BetterTogetherCA



Q4: When starting out, what tools/materials should you get? Where can someone find materials for cheap/free? #BetterTogetherCA #makered

  • My mom’s backyard always had wood scraps, hammers, nails, jar lids, paint for her young grandsons #BetterTogetherCA
  • Yes! And you can get a lot of those items donated from family and community members for the school. #BetterTogetherCA
  • When we started @RavenswoodMakes in @RavenswoodCSD, we had three old macs, LEGOs and a robot in an unused room. #BetterTogetherCA
  • And yes, we were very fortunate that there was an unused room, though we did have to repaint and refloor it. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Makerspace opens the door to so many learners #BetterTogetherCA
  • @RAFTBayArea is a great source for inexpensive #maker resources! As well as @donorschoose! #bettertogetherca
  • I’ve also seen a little #maker cart that rolls from classroom to classroom #BetterTogetherCA
  • Cardboard is free and super useful for lots of projects! Or use Thinkercad & print (free) in public library ! #BetterTogetherCA
  • Printing at public library?? Brilliant! Had not thought of this! #BetterTogetherCA


Q5: We’ve raised issues of importance, space and materials. How do we engage students in #makered? #BetterTogetherCA

  • From workshops I’ve led with kids and with adults, engagement is almost a given when making and choice is involved. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Allow for creativity, selection of projects, competition, simulation… #BetterTogetherCA
  • Authentic purpose for learning, student led. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Most Ss are happy to create in school & do something hands-on, but not natural for all… #BetterTogetherCA
  • @MsHaughs So true. I’ve even had adults freeze up in a workshop because they weren’t used to hands-on or choice in school #BetterTogetherCA
  • I like to provide variety of options so Ss can choose #making comfort level & have them bring their ideas to table #BetterTogetherCA


Q6: In what ways could/do you connect #makered activities to standards and curriculum? #BetterTogetherCA

  • @OfficialNGSS standards are full of opportunities to integrate making. Engineering practices are all about making. #BetterTogetherCA
  • And there’s TONS of math in engineering & #compsci! I’m passionate about working w/math Ts to integrate more #making #BetterTogetherCA
  • There are PBL Standards with the Buck Institute. Standards in Manufacturing with CTE. #BetterTogetherCA
  • @AgencyByDesign‘s thinking routines can help bring #makered into any subject’s standards by empowering the learner. #BetterTogetherCA
  • CTEOnline #BetterTogetherCA


Q7: Thinking about assessment of learning… Should we assess making? Can making be a form of assessment? #BetterTogetherCA #makered

  • Learning through making is an assessment of student understanding, if it’s done authentically and not cookie-cutter. #BetterTogetherCA
  • It seems like simulations are a great way to bring in some assessment of student understanding. #BetterTogetherCA
  • Assess – 1. Communication & Collaboration 2. Inquiry, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving 3. Creativity and Innovation #BetterTogetherCA
  • Struggling with grading of making. We’re making a coin sorter (Science) Group Project, Engineering Circle. How to grade? #BetterTogetherCAScreen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.51.35 PM


What are you thoughts about Makerspace?

Share your thoughts on this and the above questions using the hashtag #BetterTogetherCA on Twitter, and tagging us at @CATeachersSummit. Thanks!