Makerspaces in school education

Buinho Education is a sub-branch of Buinho, a fablab located in the South of Portugal (www.buinho.pt). We were the first and still only project of the kind in this region, having introduced since 2015 the contributes of Maker Education to public schools and local communities in the fields of digital fabrication, coding, and robotics.

Buinho has been coordinating several Erasmus projects since 2017. 

We currently coordinate an Erasmus consortium (PT01-KA121-SCH-000010598) dedicated to the mission of increasing the digital proficiency in all public schools of the neighbouring municipalities, mostly in the fields of coding and robotics. And we are working with more than 20 local public schools in the development and teaching of digital competencies to both students and teachers from six different municipalities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

It is this unique experience of being a fablab that has helped create several school makerspaces that we want to share with other European Schools that aim to create similar dynamics but don’t know exactly where to start. It’s due to this experience that we can advise on what is the most effective solutions adjusted to the available budget, and it’s based on the daily practice that we better explain how these spaces can operate to produce high-quality educational results.
But this course offers more than this. It will also offer the possibility of participants to have a practical engagement and experience with the most popular equipment in Makerspaces nowadays. By being a fablab and managing a group of educational Makerspaces in Messejana, Buinho can offer the unique experience of taking this course within a real makerspace and together with us better understand the advantages and limitations of each piece of equipment.

This course is aimed at school coordinators or teachers that have the ambition to create and operate a Makerspace within their school premises. With this course, you will learn how a Makerspace works, how it is divided into working sections, and what are the general aspects you should take into consideration while designing the space. You will also learn how to use digital fabrication technology such as laser cutters, 3D printers, Vinyl Cutters, or CNC Mills. You will have the opportunity to test and experiment with different Robotic Educational Kits and get to know the most suitable solutions to introduce physical coding and STEAM in your classroom. You will also have the opportunity to experiment with emerging technology and methodologies such as virtual and augmented reality, Artificial intelligence, and product Hacking, setting up the space for the future of school digital education.

You will also have the opportunity to get to know some of our approaches and strategies to enable the creation of low-cost makerspaces in public schools while covering all the logistic and safety measures that reduce associated risks.

Finally, and with this short course, you will be able to perform a short job shadowing activity in a local school, where you will be introduced to some significant projects and opportunities given by the new Erasmus program to the school sector.

Target Groups – Elementary, Middle and Secondary School deans, school coordinators, and department coordinators

Duration of the course – Four days

Total Cost of the Course – 320€

Note: Each class will have a maximum of 10 participants to provide higher quality standards and more individualized support.

Timetable

Day 1

9:30 – 10:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

10:00 – 11:00

Welcome session and introduction
We will receive the participants in the working space, making a short introduction to Buinho’s experience in the educational field.

11:00 – 12:00

Working from a makerspace
Participants will receive a quick introduction to the Maker Movement and its importance for school Education in digital competencies and innovative non-formal education methodologies. We will be working from within a fablab and Makerspace during all the course, and as such we will also include a brief explanation of how the spaces were designed to accommodate the technical profile of the different technologies.

12:00 – 13:00

Analyzing the function of school Makerspaces
In this section of the workshop, we will share examples and best practices from some European Makerspaces. Besides inspiring, the real added value of this presentation will be critically analyzing the strong and weak points of each, enabling participating schools to make a cross-reference comparison between them.

14:00 – 16:00

Robotics and Coding
After some morning theoretical presentations, we will continue with a more practical approach. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage and experience a wide variety of Robotic Kits that include Cubettos, Mbots, Little Bits, Otto Bots, Arduino Rovers, among other solutions we have currently available in our Makerspace for Educational purposes. We will be able to discuss the most suitable target ages and purposes for each example, as well as the relative advantages that each solution may offer.

16:00 – 18:00

Debriefing
We aim to finish everything daily session with a short discussion about the contents learned during the activities. During this debriefing, we will have the opportunity to discuss different strategies for the implementation of coding and robotics teaching in schools, and how to deal with budget constraints. We will also have the opportunity to introduce the following day’s workshops and discuss adjustments that may be required.

Day 2

9:30 – 10:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

10:00 – 12:00

Digital Fabrication – 3D Printing and 3D Modelling in the classroom
We will dedicate the second day of training to introducing the most common and relevant digital fabrication technologies to make a presence in a Makerspace. We will start with 3D printing technology, which will be complemented with a short exercise in 3D modeling. By the end of the morning, participants would have successfully designed and 3D printed a small remembrance of this workshop to take back home.

12:00 – 13:00

Different 3D printing technologies
The purpose of this short workshop is to present and discuss the different available 3D printing technologies and equipment to better assist school coordinators in the moment of choosing which solutions fit better their needs. We aim to clarify the requirements of 3D printing for classroom use and share some tips and advice on how to proceed most effectively and when faced with a limited budget.

14:00 – 16:00

Digital Fabrication – Introduction to Lasercutting and Vinyl cutting technologies
After 3D printing and Robotics, we move on to the other two most popular technologies within Makerspaces – Lasercutters and Vinyl cutters. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to work directly with these types of equipment and experiment with different materials and solutions. We will explain the reasons why the laser cutters are the most versatile of the makerspace pieces of equipment, but also why a vinyl cutter can be a cheaper solution than can transform a whole school. We will also have the opportunity to share some free educational resources that can help schools to take the most advantage of these equipment’s

16:00 – 18:00

Debriefing
We will discuss safety issues regarding the use of equipment and materials in a makerspace, and share some guidelines for the safe use of these resources. We will also discuss alternatives within digital fabrication and emerging technologies.

Day 3

9:30 – 10:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

10:00 – 11:00

Digital Media – Green Screen Technology
The third day of workshops is dedicated to the introduction of digital media and new fields of practice in school fablabs and makerspaces. We will start with a fun and engaging activity with all participants while using some simple Green Screen Technology and the use of DIY teleprompters.

11:00 – 13:00

Digital Media – Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Classroom
AR and VR are among the most promising and exciting new technologies to enter digital school education. They offer a glimpse of what the metaverse will offer in the future. We will further explore the potential of AR and VR for educational content in our media lab section of the Makerspace. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with augmented reality content and explore unlimited traveling possibilities with the use of AR Glasses.

14:00 – 16:00

New fields of practice – Product Hacking
We will explore new and exciting practices within the field of engineering, electronics, and robotics within school makerspaces, namely the use of Break spaces where participants will have an opportunity to practice reverse engineering, and test some laboratory equipment.

16:00 – 18:00

Educational repositories for STEAM
To provide a good roadmap in the implementation of activities in the classroom, we will share other educational resources that include educational repositories, STEAM tutorials, and educational projects that will add up to what was shared in the morning session.

Day 4

9:30 – 10:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

10:00 – 12:00

Job-Shadowing about digital schools and Erasmus opportunities
For the last day of training, we reserved a visit to a local school to discuss the digital strategies currently being implemented in Portugal, but also the importance of Erasmus and the creation of a common European Education Area to the implementation of such strategies and internationalization. We will visit some spaces and discuss with other teachers and coordinators that will share best practices and challenges.

12:00 – 15:00

Group Lunch and delivery of participation certificates
After the job-shadowing event, Buinho will organize a special group lunch to commemorate the end of the training. It will also be an opportunity to further discuss, and in an informal environment, the next steps when returning to the school. An opportunity also to present other Erasmus courses offered by Buinho in the field of digital competencies and deliver the final certificates of attendance and Europass.