EHOVE Fab Lab Makerspace Academy

Article Published: 02/14/2017

How do we help today’s students become tomorrow’s designers, makers and innovators?  Give teachers the ability to provide their students with the knowledge and understanding to compete globally.

EHOVE Career Center is out front in this effort to enhance learning through what is known as the Maker Movement, where individuals learn and use practical skills to design, create, produce and test new or improved items, designs and styles in everything from robotics and 3D printing to woodworking and crafts.  

“Education is drastically changing and makerspaces are helping to provide resources and opportunities for educators and students to think differently about where we’re going and how we get there,” said EHOVE Assistant Director Matt Ehrhardt.  “It can change the way teachers teach and students learn, and that it’s okay to fail because that can be important in leading you to success.”

“Schools have been getting rid of the hands-on courses like woodshop and metal shop,” said EHOVE,” said Engineering & Manufacturing Instructor Noah Rasor.  “Without these classes, students are being thrown out into the real world lacking many important skills and not realizing their creative potential.”   

EHOVE’s involvement is part of a larger effort by North Point Education Service Center (NPESC) to assist member school districts in the vital area of school improvement and innovation within the context of emerging trends.  This concept is called Emerging Trends Network (ETN) and focuses on trends like career readiness, digital leadership and learning, and data analytics that are effectively used with rigor, relevance and relationships/culture.

“Our region will benefit from this effort to equip teachers with what they need to provide their students with more learning opportunities,” said Dr. Lonny Rivera, Director of Innovation at North Point Educational Service Center.  “It’s exciting that this relevant training, which puts an emphasis on innovation, is available right here.”

“As the Maker Movement spreads across the country and generations, the movement can take creators, inventors, entrepreneurs and leaders beyond their expectations in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise imagined,” said Ehrhardt.   

“We are a nation of inventors and makers!” said Rasor.  “We need to provide the knowledge and inspire the student population to MAKE things!  We are coming out of the ashes of these programs and jumping into the Maker Movement by providing a high tech reboot of shop classes.”

To tackle this issue, EHOVE has created the Makerspace Academy for educators.  Through EHOVE’s Fab Lab, a small-scale workshop concept born at M.I.T. where you can design and make almost anything, nine area teachers from northern Ohio participated in the pilot program.

Through this series of classes designed to help teachers infuse STEM and hands-on skills into the curriculum across multiple grade levels, they learned about resources, tools and new technologies in robotics, electronics and design.  They also learned how to use 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, engravers and vinyl printers/cutters.  In addition, a full class was devoted to the topic of project-based learning taught by Dr. Jody Haney from Xcite Learning who is a Professor Emeritus from Bowling Green State University.  Optionally, the class members were able to earn graduate credit from Ashland University.

“Even though every educator in the room had a different level of understanding when it came to technology, the equipment and the movement,” said Ehrhardt.  “We saw them all develop to the aha moment of realizing ‘I can really do this.’”

On Tuesday, February 7, the teachers gave their final presentations detailing how they will take this new knowledge back to their school district and students.  

Tony Limberios, who teaches EHOVE’s Explore STEM program, presented how he had developed Mind and Heart Strong, a program to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients.   Those who would benefit from a relationship with a high school student would be identified and matched with a student.  They would work together to design a shadowbox of the resident’s memories that the student could create in EHOVE’s Fab Lab.  The benefits for the resident and the student would go beyond the actual engineering of the item.

Patricia Ryan teaches art and technology at Huron High School and is excited to take the Maker Movement to her district with the support of Principal Lamb and Superintendent Muratori.  “The class we took at EHOVE, led by Matt Ehrhardt and Noah Rasor, has ignited a fire and equipped us with the beginning skills that will help us teachers facilitate the designing, engineering with the most engaging part . . .  MAKING!” said Ryan.  “It was just what we were looking for and we want more!”

Her presentation focused on the creation of a makerspace at Huron High School that would complement the school’s new think tank class, STEAM-Entrepreneurship, which promotes student creativity through designing, building and inventing.  The students would reach out to the community’s businesses to offer logo design and branding services.  The students would benefit as they develop practical skills of creating logos and plans but also from learning the process of working with a customer, prototyping, testing, evaluating, etc.

The other presentations were:

Makerspace Academy Projects:

  • Tony Limberios, EHOVE Career Center – Shadowbox Collaboration for High School Students & Alzheimer’s Patients
  • Patricia Ryan, Huron City Schools – Makerspace for STEAM-Entrepreneurship Class
  • Matt Norton, Gross Schecter Day School – Green Energy and Designing Wind Turbine Blades
  • Dwayne Cook, Strongsville City Schools – How to Set Up Fab Lab Equipment
  • Dave Stacklin, PENTA Career Center/Benton Carroll Salem Schools - Birdhouse Design Project
  • Amanda Kozak, Bellevue City Schools – Multipurpose Physics Car
  • Donna Sadowski, Huron City Schools – Cell Phone Video Stand
  • John Stout, Perkins Local Schools – Modular Bridge
  • Scott Spettle, Norwalk City School District – Birdhouse Design Project

 

“We (teachers and administrators) have to continually work at changing with the times to meet our students need in an ever-changing society,” said Ryan.  “We have to prepare our students for future challenges through these early experiences that will lead them to better choice for them in college, training, careers and the workforce.  I mean, that is our job!”

According to Ehrhardt, the next steps in EHOVE’s effort through the maker movement are to offer two different options to area educators; introductory make it, take it classes this spring and a two week Makerspace Institute in the summer.

Details of the Makerspace Academy, along with the teachers’ presentations and blogs documenting their experiences, can be accessed through the Fab Lab page.