Empowering Student Agency With Student-Run Makerspaces

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Location: Room 271-3
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Participate and share : Interactive session

Martha Bongiorno  
Meggan Ford  
Isabella Hembree  

Imagine a learning culture that encourages creativity, critical thinking and collaboration with sustainable action. Learn how educators can empower student agency with a student-run technology team. Our team will share how we co-designed, established and maintain a community makerspace to support personalized learning.

Audience: Library media 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
Topic: Library/media
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
Additional detail: Student presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Our students are the most important but are often the most under-appreciated stakeholders in schools, especially when planning for personalized learning with technology. Involving students in the planning, implementation, and daily management of a one-to-one technology program and MakerSpace programs can help empower our students to take ownership of their learning while also providing an opportunity for students to take on leadership roles in the school, develop a future-ready skill set, and collaborate in an innovative learning environment.

As educators, the release of control to students can be an uncomfortable feeling, but during this presentation we will share how collaboration is essential for students to take ownership of their learning and leads to developing real-life skills! Colleges and companies list soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration as top skills they look for during interviews. Let’s prepare students for the future.

This session will share specific learning tools, guiding documents, suggested reading, and strategies used to empower student agency. Students not only learn how technology works and how to use it in the classroom, but they also learn leadership skills, effective communication skills, design principles, and the importance of quality customer service.


Empowering Student Agency with Student-Run MakerSpaces

10 Minutes - Introduction to students and staff and the background of the schools for context; Share a collaborative Padlet to add information, ideas, and resources for later use and collaboration efforts across schools, districts, and distance

5 Minutes - Discussion with peers near you - What are some pitfalls you envision when establishing a student-run technology team and MakerSpace? (Will have a MENTI discussion question ready if this is virtual)

15 Minutes - Describe the process of establishing a student-run program - the pros/cons, the glows and grows, how we (the school librarians) support and assess the program

15 Minutes - Hear from the student perspective - What they learned, what they are still learning, and their goals for moving forward.

10 Minutes - Resource share - We will share our technology tools, reading suggestions, collaborative documents, and strategies that helped us as school librarians working alongside our students in support of their goal of a completely student-run MakerSpace

Supporting research

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Martha Bongiorno, Adobe for Education
ISTE Certified Educator

Martha Bongiorno is a school library activist and is currently serving as a school librarian in Metro Atlanta. She supports students and educators by pushing boundaries of traditional education to empower learners as thinkers and creators to make positive change in their communities. With her unique perspective from the heart of the school, she explores how the tapestry of learning is interwoven with literacy, technology, creativity, and student voice. Martha serves others as President of Georgia Library Media Association, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Master Trainer, a Flipgrid Student Voice Ambassador since 2016, a Wakelet Ambassador, and an Adobe Creative Educator.

Meggan Ford, Johns Creek High School

Meggan Ford is a librarian just north of Atlanta. She is a self proclaimed crazy cat lady and a huge lover of Saturdays with coffee and a good book. This past year Meggan's library program was chosen as the exemplary library program for the Georgia Library Media Association. In 2020, she was honored to become the Fulton County Library Media Specialist of the Year. Meggan is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Adobe Certified.Meggan Ford is a media specialist in metro Atlanta. She is a crazy cat lady who loves a great book and all types of technology. The Georgia Library Media Association chose Meggan's library as the high school exemplary library program for 2021. She was also the Fulton Count Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2020. Additionally, Meggan is a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert and Level 2 Certified Adobe Creative Educator.

Isabella Hembree, Fulton County Schools

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