#FETC wrap-up! Design Challenges, Maker Ed Breakfast with Sylvia Martinez, and Other Takeaways

Design Challenge Workshop

Whew! FETC was a whirlwind of fun! Diana Rendina and I held a workshop based on our upcoming book: Challenge Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace. (We missed you Aaron Graves!) My favorite part was watching our participants create things based on our design challenges.

Along with active learning, I love how collaborative challenges like this get our learners to talk about their thinking. The think-aloud process is a great way to hear a glimpse into the way our students think especially when making and problem-solving. Check out these participants that wanted to build a bridge across tables and joked about making fire with tissue paper as something their LEGO minifigure had to avoid when crossing a bridge!

Another fun aspect of this workshop is that we asked our learners to find a way to share their work through video. So some of them made time-lapse videos while others created videos with the Boomerang app.

Our first challenge lasted longer than expected, but even though we ran out of time, some participants asked me to do a quick tutorial on how to create Makey Makey Poetry with Scratch.

I borrowed an idea from another favorite Maker Librarian of mine, David Saunders, and showed them how to make “black out poetry” interactive with Makey Makey. Here is the Scratch game where we collaboratively recorded voices to make the poem interactive.

Maker Librarian Breakfast with Sylvia Martinez

Another great offering at FETC, was the FAME breakfast where Sylvia Martinez (CMK Press, Invent to Learn author, and amazing maker ed speaker) spoke about the importance of making and libraries.

Key Points included:

  • Libraries provide equitable access to making FOR ALL STUDENTS.
  • Libraries are communal hubs. In other words, librarians are generally experts about their own school community! We are “community-based” spaces and “creation-focused” places.
  • Making is not a shopping list.
  • Makerspace myth (reiterated)-Makerspaces  DO NOT EQUAL 3D printing. In other words, you can’t buy a 3D printer and check “makerspace” off your to do list.
  • The best making has a low threshold with a high ceiling, and many, many avenues of possibilities and endless creations and iterations.
  • The best makerspaces are “staffed by people who can help.”

Other Cool Stuff

I attended a super quick and fast hip-hop session and then followed Magic Pants Jones to a BreakoutEDU session by Adam Bellow and was stoked to learn about these Breakout reflection cards !


I found out about some really cool timeline and story-mapping applications by Knightlab in a session called “Leftovers with Leslie.”

  • Timeline JS  -Check out the Women in Computing timeline. These would be great for instruction or student work!
  • Storymaps is super cool too! It allows you to tell stories with maps, so I think social studies’ teachers would find it particularly intriguing. It lets you tell stories based on where the events took place across a map.
  • Soundcite – another great tool from Knightlab. You can embed SOUNDS in your writing! (#mindblown)
  • Flippity.net uses Google Sheets and I’m pretty stoked to share the Mad Libs with my 7 YO.

All in all it was a great conference and I met and spoke with so many impassioned educators!


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