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Maker Playground: Focusing on the Next Generation of Maker Activities

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Explore and create : Playground

Vinnie Vrotny  
Go past the space, tools and toys and find meaningful ways to deepen student learning through hands-on activities in your makerspace. You’ll leave with activities, projects and inspiration as you design the next generation of maker learning, whether you are just starting out or have an established space.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: To be determined
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience.
For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Attendees will be able to visit hands-on stations showcasing the deep learning that can occur in makerspaces. Stations will highlight a wide variety of maker activities, including those that feature authentic problem solving, collaboration, process-oriented design. Each activity will feature tools often found in makerspaces, such as additive (3D Printing) and subtractive (Laser Cutting & CNC) fabrication, among others. Activities and projects will span across the PK-12 grades that have impacted students in learning environments across the globe.


The Playground will consist of 6-10 stations (depending on the floor plan provided). A facilitator will be at each station sharing their activity. During the 3 hour playground, we will likely have two “shifts” at each station, resulting in between 12-20 expieriences.

Supporting research

The Maker Movement in Education (Erica R. Halverson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Kimberly M. Sheridan, George Mason University, in the Harvard Educational Review, Winter 2014.)

The Promise of the Maker Movement for Education (Lee Martin, University of California-Davis, in the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 2015.)

Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power: Toward Transformative Visions for Educational Equity (Shirin Vossoughi, Northwestern University and Paula Hooper and Meg Escudé, Exploratorium, forthcoming in the Summer 2016 issue of the Harvard Educational Review.)

The Maker Movement (Dale Daugthery)

Envisioning the Future of the Maker Movement, Summit Report. (ASEE 2016)

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Vinnie Vrotny, The Kinkaid School

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