Imagination without limits.
That's the magic infusing Makerspaces in JUSD classrooms, libraries and innovation centers. Jurupa Unified has integrated Makerspaces – collaborative work areas where students build, learn, explore, make, share and experiment, often using technology – into schools district-wide.
Teachers say Makerspaces help students grow, innovate, and learn resilience, resolve and determination. The spaces support all subjects, challenge young minds, and engage all students, almost without exception, educators said.
“Students are so motivated within to create something that they are focused and active," said Julia Quinto, an instructor at Rustic Lane Elementary. “Even the kids who I didn't think would be excited about making were so enveloped in a project."
Tonya Coats, a Rustic Lane teacher who has used Makerspaces for four years in subjects ranging from art to robotics to coding, said the spaces give students autonomy, the freedom to discover, and a judgment-free place to experiment.
Mission Middle School teacher Laurie Ludwig agreed: “Having this space available has been invaluable. It gives students hands-on opportunities to try, stumble, get up, and soar!" she said, emphasizing the value of technology in high school, college, trade school and careers.
Veronica Gonzalez, Coordinator of Information Technology for JUSD, added that Makerspaces strengthen students' resilience and technology skills, teaching them to persevere and learn without limits for a lifetime: “As students are building projects and testing them, they are learning how to troubleshoot by analyzing the areas that need re-engineering," she said.
Ms. Coats elaborated: “Having access to Makerspaces has changed the way I teach because I have learned that it's OK to let students struggle with concepts sometimes. This helps students keep going even when it's hard. By doing this, students learn patience, creativity, innovation, and a strong growth mind-set, and their frustrations quickly turn into a deeper retention of information."
Asked for examples of Makerspace learning in action, the teachers shared a couple of stories:
Kristi Batchelder, principal of Rustic Lane Elementary, praised instructors campus-wide for their creative use of Makerspaces. “Teachers have become innovators themselves, designing enriching, hands-on opportunities for their students," Ms. Batchelder said. “Many teachers have even created small Makerspaces within their classrooms by simply repurposing a back table or corner of the room." She added, “Watching students interact with the Rustic Lane Innovation Center is a joy to behold. You can feel the buzz of their energy because they are excited for the learning opportunities they are about to experience."