Welcome to the NWAIS Maker Labs Blog!

As more and more and more learning happens online, we need to be able to do something different with our face-to-face learning environments in NWAIS schools. Makerspaces bring innovation directly to the most important part of the NWAIS community – the students! Through this project, we hope to help NWAIS schools create innovative spaces that help student unleash their creative spirit as they invent, design, prototype, and problem-solve.

Adapting these opportunities to schools requires expertise, materials and modeling which may not be readily available to an individual school. By creating a resource kit, collecting local and global expertise for teachers to draw from, and building example spaces and projects within the NWAIS community, we hope to support schools and teachers in their desire to integrate design and fabrication into their own schools. The contributions of NWAIS member schools will be an important part of this process, and we will be actively collecting the experiences and expertise of our community to share.

On this blog and our accompanying website, we will explore and define the role of the teacher in a makerspace, investigate the power of learning by doing, determine how various spaces can be transformed into makerspace, discover student-centered makerspace projects aimed at various grade levels and content areas that will engage learners in solving real problems, identify and create support resources for teachers and schools interested in integrating maker technologies, and organize a NWAIS Mini Maker Fest!

We hope you will follow along and participate throughout the year, as our team reads and discusses relevant books and publications, attends professional conferences to learn more about the maker movement in schools, visits schools both in and outside of NWAIS that are using maker education in creative ways, designs and “test-drives” project ideas, and more!

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Meet the Team!

Adrienne Gifford, Innovation & Technology Lab Director at Open Window School

Adrienne is an ISTE Emerging Leader 2013, Innovation & Technology Lab Director, robotics coach, and crafter. She has taught middle school science and technology for 9 years in public school, private school, and museum settings. Adrienne has presented at many conferences on various maker topics, such as design thinking, computer programming, physical computing, and e-textiles.  She is in the process of developing a school makerspace at Open Window School in Bellevue, WA.

Jeff Tillinghast, Director of Academic Technology at University Prep

Jeff is developing a makerspace and program at University Prep which will connect with teachers to create opportunities for technology integration into diverse subjects and curricula, as well as offer extracurricular programs for students. Prior to his work in Educational Technology, Jeff taught choral music and music technology at the high school level. In addition to his experience in the classroom and school administration fields, he was a Science on Wheels teacher for the Pacific Science Center, delivering science, technology and engineering lessons to K-12 students across Washington State. He has been a lifelong “maker” in electronic art and physical computing.

Geneva Hinchliffe, Middle School Math Teacher at The Overlake School

Geneva is a middle school teacher who has taught math and language arts for the last four years as well as her craft-of-choice: knitting. Her research into discovery-based learning led her to create a unique, student-driven program at ACE Academy in Austin, TX which changes each month based on student interests, talents, and questions. It was during its development that she first encountered the MakerEd movement.

Santosh Zachariah, Upper School Science/Math/Technology Teacher at The Evergreen School

Santosh has been part of The Evergreen School’s Technology team for the past four years.  At Evergreen, all students from 4th through 8th program, design, build, invent, and create both within and outside the curriculum, using technologies like Lego NXT robots, e-textiles, Makey-Makey’s, arduino kits, quadcopters, and 3D printers. This year marks the third set of Adventure Days, in which students may pursue any passion of theirs for two whole days. Evergreen is currently consolidating all these within a purpose-built Maker and Innovation space.

Wing L. Mui, Math Department Chair at The Overlake School

Wing is currently in the beginning stages of developing a makerspace at The Overlake School and is a board member of Seattle Attic, a new Seattle community makerspace with diversity and inclusion as core parts of its mission. Before moving to Seattle, Wing taught at The Putney School in Vermont where he managed shops and helped create a space where he and his colleagues could work with students on their electronics, robotics, prototyping, and fiber arts projects.