2017 Highlights: Helping Our Partners Succeed Through Customized Training

As 2017 comes to a close, we want to take time to highlight the many achievements of our program participants, partner organizations, and staff members this year. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the dedication, passion, and inspiration that our partners bring to their schools and organizations each day, and we’re grateful to know and support each and every one of them. If you’d like to support our efforts, your donations will help us continue our work with our amazing partners.

Throughout 2017, Maker Ed has been providing support to Verizon Innovative Learning’s teacher grantees through customized training, workshops, and virtual meetups. Read on to learn more…

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Bearden Middle School’s makerspace

In the short span of just one year, Bearden Middle School in Knoxville, TN, successfully designed, built, and rolled out a space for making for all 1,300 students on its campus. Two educators, in particular, Kayla Canario, an instructional coach, and Donna Gobbell, a library media specialist, championed these efforts as participants in Verizon’s Innovative Learning Initiative. During this time, Maker Ed teamed up with Verizon as a professional learning partner to offer Kayla, Donna, and other participating schools a forum for connecting and sharing experiences and resources. Over monthly virtual support calls, Bearden entered a constructive feedback loop of ideas, iterations, and problem-solving that has brought them and their school makerspace to where they are today.

In addition to inspiring educators with their impressive lightning-quick planning speed, Bearden also models how involving and empowering students in the process of establishing a school makerspace is a key ingredient to the space’s sustainability and success. Kayla’s student tech team and Donna’s yearbook club joined forces at the very beginning to research other school makerspaces and determine the kinds of tools, materials, and activities they wanted to see in their space. Further emboldened by building out the space themselves in the school library, the students went on to enlist the support and buy-in of teachers across Bearden. By designing maker-centered challenges for teachers to complete in the finished space, the students showed teachers the potential for curricular connections with making. Throughout this process, the students emerged as owners and experts of the space, continuing to refine management systems and procedures and spark school-wide enthusiasm for it.

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These stories are just a small snapshot of the valuable work being done through our programs and partnerships. None of this would be possible without you: the amazing parents, teachers, administrators, librarians, and other educators who’ve helped us build a community of enthusiastic makers. 

If you want to help us reach even more educators, youth, and families in 2018, please consider making a donation!

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If you want to learn more about our programs, offerings, and events, subscribe to our email newsletter.

Thank you for your ongoing support — we’re looking forward to accomplishing even more next year. 

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