Checking In with Our Making Spaces Hubs: Updates from the Field

Making Spaces is a 30-month professional learning and capacity building program designed to support local leadership around maker education and build the foundation for lasting, embedded change in pedagogy, community, and culture. We select a new cohort of partner organizations (Hubs) each year, and work with the cohort for an initial six months to develop their plans for supporting Maker-Centered Learning in their unique regions. During the next 24 months, we support the Hubs as they work in their local regions with selected Sites (schools and other educational environments). Over the course of the program, we’ve collaborated with Hubs in 19 states (and two countries!), and are excited to open the application period for our fifth cohort of Hubs in September. 

This year is the first time we onboarded organizations in January rather than the summer, and we are grateful for that shift! We accepted and announced our fourth cohort of Hubs in December 2019. Between January and March, these 10 organizations developed their individual visions for supporting maker-centered learning in schools and other educational environments within their region. We were lucky to squeeze in our one in-person workshop in early March, right before we started sheltering in place: 

A group shot of Cohort 4 Hub representatives. They are standing outside in the back yard of the Maker Ed Community Studio
Cohort 4 Hub representatives gather at the Maker Ed Community Studio in March 2020. (Pre-social distancing! Remember that?)

 The pandemic shifted things a bit, both for the focus of the Hubs as well as our timeline for this work. In March, some of our Hubs coordinated the creation of PPE (personal protective equipment) for their communities. Others were embedded within the school system and were helping coordinate the shift to online learning. Many of our Hubs are informal educational organizations, such as museums, libraries, and community makerspaces. These organizations typically run summer camps or other in-person educational programs during the summer months. During this COVID-19 summer, our Making Spaces Community came together to discuss how to shift to online professional development. We shared what we were all doing to address this new need, talked about how to structure online learning, what online platforms and tools were available, and shared best practices.

Two women sit at a table with many colorful post-it notes in front of them. One is writing something down and the other is smiling and laughing.

As of now, Cohort 4 Making Spaces Hubs are planning support responsive to their communities, and that looks different in different parts of the country. Some of our Hubs have already selected and announced their Sites. Others are working within their local school system to determine the best timeline for moving forward. It has been my pleasure to learn from and with these organizations as we make our way through the challenges and opportunities this year has brought.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting the amazing work that our organizational partners in Cohort 4 are doing through a series of blog posts. We hope you will enjoy reading about each of these amazing organizations, and learning more about how our regional partners are supporting learning in different parts of the country! 

Could your organization benefit from participating in Making Spaces? We will be opening applications for Cohort 5 Hubs in September 2020! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the application goes live. 





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