Future Teachers at Augustana Embrace Innovative "Makerspace" Approach

Nov 14, 2019

Augustana University education students use wires to connect bananas with the computer to create piano sounds. It's just one of the workstations at the Makerspace workshop.
Credit Jackie Hendry

Education majors at Augustana University have the opportunity to experience cutting-edge classroom tools through Makerspace workshops. Robots, iPads and circuit boards help students of any level engage with a variety of subjects in a way that feels like play.

The three Makerspace workshops this semester are financed with the Oliver Innovation Fund through Augustana to encourage creativity throughout the university. Assistant Professor of education Michelle Powers applied for the grant to help future teachers learn to incorporate Makerspace in their classrooms.

“Makerspace is a concept that schools are employing to help students learn how to solve problems basically with both everyday tools and technology tools. It’s also a way to explore learning concepts like robotics and coding.”

College students have plenty of time to play with the Makerspace items themselves. This workshop includes about half a dozen items, including magnetic geometric shapes for building… a set of wires connected to a computer to make a piano out of a bunch of bananas, and even a remote-control robot to maneuver around the classroom.

The unique items encourage collaboration and creative play, and Michelle Powers says even education faculty at Augustana are learning from the Makerspace workshops.

“But what I think is really important is districts are investing in these tools for a very important purpose, which is to help students become better problem solvers, deeper thinkers. It’s very collaborative and that’s where we want to go with our students.

Each workshop also includes a talk from a Makerspace expert in the Sioux Falls or Tea school districts.

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