As we head into the second week of August, the new school year slowly creeps up on me, full of makery goodness.
First, I’m teaching a new course, SI 636: Makerspaces, Maker Culture, and Maker Tools [editor’s note: SI = School of Information at University of Michigan]. Our school is partnering with the Ann Arbor District Library to use their new design space, including their staff, so our students will have access to two heads instead of one! Because our school is diverse, and so is the world of making, I’m working with the GradeCraft folks to design an extensive menu of assignment/activity options. Whether you want to research the maker movement, make stuff, plan maker programming for your library, or interact with makers at community events, there are things for you. Trying to create a course that embodies the collaborative, just-in-time, and individual-driven maker movement has been a lot of fun. I’d love to hear from others who are taking — or desire to take! — a maker course. What do you focus on? How do you balance course requirements with the DIY nature of the movement?
Secondly, we’re really revving up our Making in Michigan Libraries grant (supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services), which will bring maker professional development to libraries and their school, cultural, and civic partners throughout rural areas of Michigan. We’re hiring student staff and preparing our search for host institutions.
And finally, Michigan Makers is about to enter its fourth year. This will be the first year where both of our schools will be schools we’ve worked with in the past, and it will be a pleasure to hit the ground running with some new activities (LEGO WeDo and Mindstorm) and some from previous years: Dot and Dash, which offer so much more than it did when we first bought them; the ever-popular junk box; and mountains of supplies for sewing, tinkering, making music, building circuits, etc.
What are you doing to prepare for the new year?