We invite you to consider the following questions:
- What kinds of challenges will people face in 5 years?
- What kinds of skills will people need to face these challenges?
- How do educators and parents who believe in maker-centered learning get prepared to foster an I-can-do-it attitude in young people?
- How to develop a sensitivity to design and understand learning as experiences that should prepare people for the challenged that will appear before them in the future?
Perhaps the answer to the last question should be: develop soft skills in ourselves first. In other words, educators should be the first to feel encouraged to notice opportunities to build, tinker, hack, and design learning artifacts and systems in an ever-changing world.
With this premise in mind, we designed and delivered two Librarian Training sessions in 2017. The idea revolved around the fact that we strongly believe people, educators included, need to become sensitive to opportunities to activate their sense of maker empowerment.
On our first meeting, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s Resource Center team was invited to think about what their patrons’ needs and interests are and how to design programs to cater for those needs. Then, the whole Resource Center team revisited what Casa Thomas Jefferson’s mission is and started writing the Resource Center very own mission statement.
For the second meeting, Resource Center staff members came to CTJ Makerspace and got their hands dirty; we revisited the mission they created as a group and learned a new skill – we learned the technical part of using a plotter machine, but we had a purpose in mind: The team learned how to use the machine to make the mission statement visually appealing to everyone who visits our Resource Centers.
All in all, the two sessions worked on a maker skill as a secondary aim, for the most important learning outcome was to build confidence and build a maker mindset. As a result, we have a shared vision as what a dynamic learning center is. Now it’s much easier to plan programs that engage people with ideas and tools to foster learning in the 21st Century.