Empathy Through Makerspace: Fostering Equity, SEL and Global Sustainability

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: La Nouvelle Ballroom, Table 6
Experience live: All-Access Package

Participate and share : Poster

Amy Johnson  
Kira Brennan  

Learn how our makerspace program is making the shift from focusing solely on the STEAM disciplines to being truly human-centered. Join us to explore how to create an inclusive makerspace environment that is founded in empathy and culturally responsive global collaboration.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: iOS, Windows, Android
Participant accounts, software and other materials: No additional tech needed.
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students explore local and global issues and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will:

-understand how Makerspace can foster empathy
-explore examples of Makerspace activities that are accessible and incorporate SEL and global sustainability
-be able to examine their current Makerspace practice

Supporting research

Parkway School District's Mobile Makerspace program was featured in the National Education Technology Plan updated in January 2017. (page 51) It was recognized as an example of Leadership-Creating a Culture and Conditions for Innovation and Change in the area of Budgeting and Funding for the Transition to Digital Learning


Leading From The Library: Help Your School Community Thrive by Shannon McClintock Miller and Bill Bass

Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension by Sara Ahmed

Teach Boldly: Using EdTech for Social Good by Jennifer Williams

The Maker Playbook: A Guide to Creating Inclusive Learning Experiences by Caroline Haebig

Mindful School Libraries: Creating and Sustaining Nurturing Spaces and Programs by Wendy Stephens


From CASEL: What is the CASEL framework?

From Digital Promise: Foster Social Emotional Learning through Making by Emily Sanders, Tracy Yeropoli, Tabitha Marino

From Demco: How to Inspire Students to Be Compassionate Makers by Gina Seymour

From Edutopia: Teaching Empathy Through Design Thinking by Rusul Alrubail

From Edsurge: Making for All: How to Build an Inclusive Makerspace by Sylvia Martinez

From UNESCO: Sustainable Development Goals-Resources for Educators

More [+]


Amy Johnson, Parkway School District
ISTE Certified Educator

Amy supports PK-12 instructional technology and innovation initiatives as the Digital Learning Specialist for the Parkway School District in St. Louis, MO. Through her work, Amy supports teachers and district leaders in all areas of tech integration including Google for Edu, virtual learning, and mobile learning. She has previously served the district as an elementary teacher, a technology integration specialist, and an elementary instructional coach. Amy has presented at national, regional, and local conferences on a variety of digital learning topics. She is a member of ISTE, the GEG of Eastern MO, and the Educational Technology Association of St. Louis.

Kira Brennan, Parkway School District
ISTE Certified Educator

Kira Brennan is the Innovation and Library Systems Support Specialist in the Parkway School District outside of St. Louis, MO. She has worked as a middle school classroom teacher as well as a secondary Library Media Specialist where she was 2016 Teacher of the Year. In her current role, Kira provides leadership in the areas of librarian practice including innovation, technology integration, library programming, and designing modern spaces. Utilizing the Parkway Library Media Program guidelines, Future Ready Librarians framework, ISTE Standards, and AASL Standards, she helps to define what it means to be a librarian in the digital age.