Taking Your Makerspace on the Digital Road

Laura Fleming defines a makerspace as, "a metaphor for a unique learning environment that encourages tinkering, play, and open-ended exploration for all" (2016, para 1). I have always been fond of this definition. It's short and I can remember it in presentations, but I am also keen on this explanation for its openness. Fleming doesn't define a specific or designated space for a maker learning environment. She doesn't discuss any type of technology or tool with which to make. She focuses solely on tinkering, play, and exploration. I really enjoy that flexibility. This month, let's take a look at online making, specifically tools that offer your students and library patrons the opportunity to make in a digital environment.

Digital Storytelling

Storybird: https://storybird.com/

Storybird inspires users to create illustrated stories through a curated collection of artwork from artists and from around the world. The beauty of Storybird is that students can write poetry or short or long-form stories based on the artwork of well-known illustrators. The pictures provide the inspiration, now students can work together or individually to write the stories.

Buncee: https://app.edu.buncee.com/

Buncee is excellent for presentations and stories. It's an engaging drag-and-drop multimedia tool that makes creation fun. Students can showcase their learning, share information, or express their creativity. Easy to use for collaboration, Buncee is an engaging tool for information scavenger hunts, stories, nonfiction writing activities, and so much more.

Music Recording

EarSketch: http://earsketch.gatech.edu/

EarSketch blends computer science with music theory to engage students in coding. Students can use the website to compose original songs using the programming languages Python or Javascript. Using guided tutorials, students can quickly put together sounds with loops, beats, and sound effects. Use this wonderful tool for music and code developed by Georgia Tech with coding classes or clubs as well.

Incredibox: https://www.incredibox.com/

If you are looking for an app to mix your own beats then I have the place for you. Incredibox let's you make your own music using beatboxing characters. Incredibox is a game-like tool for introducing the ideas behind of rhythm and melody. I warn you, this is an addictive site that will steal your time away due to being so much fun.

Video Creation and Editing

Kapwing: https://www.kapwing.com/

Kapwing is a user-friendly platform to help students and teachers of all ages create and edit video, including everything from montages and memes, to stop-action and sound effects. If it involves images or video, Kapwing has you covered. A great tool for making and creating individually or with a team. Use it to engage students or have students use it to enhance their presentations and showcase their learning in any subject.

Coding

Code.org: https://code.org/

The nonprofit Code.org is a leader in computer science education and is dedicated to giving every student , especially women and underrepresented minorities, the chance to learn computer science in school. Code.org provides the leading K-12 computer science curriculum in the largest U.S. school districts and organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign. Every year, Code.org has new coding activities, training opportunities, creativity, and problem-solving experiences. An excellent digital making platform and introductory site into the world of computer science.

Scratch: https://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch teaches computational thinking and coding while allowing students to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and then share those creations online. At the same time, students are learning how to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. A terrific tool for coding, game design, problem solving, and digital making.

When you offer making in a digital or online environment you are offering accessibility. This type of making is available to anyone, anywhere. Digital making provides collaborative opportunities. Imagine stories, songs, presentations, and video games being created by students in groups around the world. It's already happening and plugging your students and patrons in expands their experiences.

Work Cited

Fleming, Laura. "Themed Making." Worlds of Learning, May 13, 2016. https://worlds-of-learning.com/2016/05/13/themed-making/.

About the Author

Heather Moorefield-Lang, EdD, is an assistant professor for the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. To see more of Heather's work visit her website at www.techfifteen.com, email her at hmoorefield@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter @actinginthelib.

MLA Citation Moorefield-Lang, Heather. "Taking Your Makerspace on the Digital Road." School Library Connection, May 2019, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2197756.

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Entry ID: 2197756

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