“The Idea Lab has changed my life. This is my dream come true. School is now my dream place.” a grade six boy remarked with a smile wide as a prairie horizon. Not words one usually hears from a big, burly preteen about attending school the first day back after winter break.
Our Idea Lab was built over the course of the last three months. The goal of the space is to have a flexible, integrated and imaginative space for students to create, build test and re-design products or services with the intent to solve a problem in our community…a real-life problem, real-life solutions.
Makerspaces. Tinker tables. Design labs. All names for spaces where students enjoy hands-on, construction-based, trial and error type learning. “Design Thinking”, the name of the process used to structure tasks for all students so that they can learn and practice their physical and evaluative skills (building, testing, de-constructing, re-building or repurposing), and use tools (hammers, nails, fabric, soap, pipe, marbles, straws, sand, drills, electrical circuitry, lego, solar panels) in a school setting. What’s the big idea? Maker Education. Where student creativity and ingenuity is captured and celebrated in order to better prepare them for a world where the problems that exist, could never have been predicted and now need to be solved.
The stuff my generation did in our basements and garages, tinkering, building and exploring, has come to school.
After all, it changes lives.