Last year about this time, I was watching the NJEA Convention wrap up around me when I was approached about running a Makerspace at the 2015 Convention. Was I interested? Silly question! I am lucky to know a great group of Maker Educators who were willing to join my team and begin the yearlong process of planning and organizing this event. Last week, everything came together, and we launched the first (of hopefully many) NJEA Convention Makerspace in Atlantic City.
NJEA generously gave us a HUGE space to work in, and we filled it with tons of activities. We had tables for Dollar Store STEM, we had paper and wearable circuits, we had drones, we had 3D printers, we had robots, we had a Cardboard Challenge, we had Arduino lessons, and much much more. Even though we were in a back corner of the hall, we had a steady stream of people coming through to learn and play.
I am very passionate about hands-on learning, and this was the perfect forum to share that love with other educators. I had many fantastic conversations with other teachers about STEM and MakerEd, and I am hoping to hear back from them in the future on how their journeys are progressing. We were even interviewed by the Press Of Atlantic City for the paper!
This Makerspace could not have happened without a LOT of help. NJEA gave us the space and the opportunity to run with this idea. SparkFun and Maker Depot were wonderful sponsors who donated both physical items as well as time and effort to our space. Thanks to SparkFun we had some amazing giveaways to raffle off, and MakerDepot provided our gorgeous signs! Most importantly, my team of amazing, hardworking, talented, innovative, and creative people really made this Makerspace shine. To @Pottsedtech, @danborghoff, @davezirk, @kjarrett, @kerszi, @gersteinj, @mrnavas, @elissamalespina, @bec_chirps, @danielscib, and everyone else who pitched in to help out: You have my undying thanks and love!