Slice of Life Day 5 Digital Maker Playground

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.  Please visit their site to read other Slice of Life stories.

My friend Cathy and I have a hard time saying no to each other's crazy ideas.  This summer, we started to talk about creating a hybrid MOOC experience for our district.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out.  It might be a flop.  However, after tonight's gathering, I realize I shouldn't have worried.  

Tonight was one of those nights when everything clicked.  The scene was set...snacks that included Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs filled the table (because you can't have a class without Peanut Butter Eggs).  

And the room was filled with teachers who came to play.  Tonight was the first night of our Digital Maker Playground workshop. Not only did we have teachers from our district, we had teachers from two neighboring districts join us.   

Our Google+ community is filled with more great educators who span the globe.  They might not be able to join us physically, but they are an important part of the community who help us stretch our thinking and move conversations forward.  

Our first make was "Show Your Makerspace," the place where you do your creating.  After introductions and an explanation of the make, it was time to get to work.  We stressed to the teachers to make this experience what they wanted it to be.  Want to learn one tool really well?  That's fine.  Want to dabble in something new and try several things?  That's good too.  

So, where to start?

We realized there were three things to think about...
  • Where is my Makerspace?
  • Which tool do I want to use to show my Makerspace?
And one we hadn't considered...How to get the finished product into the community?

And it was perfect because the magic happened.   It wasn't long before folks started moving around the room, asking questions, sharing apps and giving tips.  


As Cathy and I talked afterwards, we reflected on how well the evening went.  You never know with after school PD...teachers are tired and sometimes the thought of 2 hours of PD is more than you want to think about after a long day at school.

So what was right about this evening?

Choice was key.  
  • The teachers who were there wanted to be there.  
  • They had choice in the tools they used and how they used them.  Our participants thought about what they wanted and needed as learners and started there.  
  • We were a workshop.  Cathy and I were two of the learners in the room.  I don't know how many times we answered questions with, "Hmmm, I don't know.   Let's try it and see what happens."  We hopped from table to table learning along with everyone else.
  • Everyone experienced success in one way or another.

The night couldn't have gone any better.   So many great things happened and I can't wait for our next get together.

Want to join the fun?  It's not too late.  If you can't physically be with us, you can play virtually.  Check out our Digital Maker Playground community.  


  1. Julie,
    Loved the night. Loved the post!


  2. As educators, we never we? It is so amazing to look around at an after school moment like that and think, wow. We're all in this together. Thanks for sharing this story and I'll have to check out Digital Maker Playground!

  3. I confess to wanting to learn about Makerspaces, but being fearful that I won't know where to start or I won't be able to make anything worth anything. How did you start? Can you write about that?

  4. I confess to wanting to learn about Makerspaces, but being fearful that I won't know where to start or I won't be able to make anything worth anything. How did you start? Can you write about that?

  5. Thanks for organizing this great opportunity! I was going to write about this as my SOL post tonight as well, but something else popped up as more timely. I will most likely make it my post tomorrow, though. Looking forward to learning together!

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