Monday, October 12, 2015

Still Searching for a 3D Printer

Searching for the perfect 3D printer is not easy! A recent query on my PLN showed that Printrbot is a good product that is reasonably priced. Downside? Not enclosed. The MakerBot Mini is enclosed.

Question: How long does it take to print a figure?
Answers: Whistles -- 18 minutes; Dice (different sided) -- 30 to 35 minutes; 2X2 inch figure -- about 2 hrs.

Question: How much does filament cost per year?
Answers:  estimated $100 -$150/year for year depending on what is printed; 3 spools of filament per year; bought 4 spools last year (48 apiece) and didn't even use half of it

I would be happy with any 3D printer I can get, as long as customer service and technical support are good. However, safety comes first!

Here's another video that shows the educational value of 3D printing for all age levels.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

MakerBot 3D Printing: Shape Maker

Tablet computer + 3D printer + imagination = creative design

Imagine the excitement and focus our students will have when they are designing, making, evaluating and refining their own 3D projects. Their world will be filled with technology and it is our hope to prepare them for a bright future by developing the digital skills and growth mindset they will need to succeed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Instructional Resources

Put together this resource list for the hi-tech items in our Makerspace. Tried to include teacher guides, lesson plans, videos and project ideas for LittleBits, Makey-Makey, Sphero and Osmo. Teachers and students might benefit by having a quick link to the instructional resources provided by the creator of these items.
For example, this TED Talk by the creator of LittleBits lays a great foundation.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recap Summer 2015

August is halfway done and the exciting part is yet to come!

1) I've been adding to the Makerspace all summer.
2) I took an online course/workshop about planning a makerspace, offered by School Library Journal. Very interesting and helpful. Not really new ideas, but an organizational planning motherlode.

3) I presented a session on Makerspaces at the MMSD PowerUP Conference on August 6th. It was good share with other teachers and librarians from MMSD as well as from the Green Bay area.

4) I made a connection with Felix Hu at the Tangible Interaction Design and Learning Laboratory at Northwestern University. The lab groucreates and studies innovative technology-based learning experiences ( and they have created Strawbies!, a programming game that uses tiles, iPads and Osmos to program characters ( Felix is sending several sets of tiles for our students to try out in the LMC Makerspace. Here's a video explaining the game. I'm really looking forward to this project. The game combines digital, hands-on and social learning all in one.

5) I started a new project ( seeking donations for more Osmos Gaming Systems for the LMC Makerspace. We've had one Osmo for a year and it is one of the most popular activities in the LMC. I'd like to add more to multiply the learning. I also need them so more students can try out Strawbies!. Take a look at this!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

8 Steps to an Academic Makerspace

This article in the THE Journal summarizes a discussion of designing makerspaces that took place at the ISTE convention a few days ago.
I would agree that the steps are all important. For example, this is our first step...
Step One: Purpose. To provide hands-on, collaborative learning opportunities (high tech and low tech) and to encourage creative problem-solving and high-level thinking, 
It is hard enough to simply define a Makerspace. Laura Fleming wrote this one: Laura's book, Worlds of Making (Corwin, 2014), is a nice guidebook.
I'm still working on a Huegel-specific definition. I think our Makerspace will be different things for different users, unique for each grade level and curricular area. It will also need to be a working definition because it is still developing and becoming.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Notable June 12

Today our LMC is beginning its transformation into a modern, exciting, maker-friendly library media center. The books are safely resting in the gym for their summer vacation. The workers are beginning the re-make, starting with the ceiling and lighting.
And.... On the exact same day... In Washington DC... President Obama is hosting the first White House Maker Faire. WOW! Coincidence? Kind of, but it just shows us that makerspaces are a bona fide idea sweeping the nation! 
And Huegel is part of it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


With the debut/sneak peek of the Huegel Makerspace this month, it's about time to start a list of the Makerspots created for the occasion. (This is not a promise that all of these are available at all times. Please contact me if you are interested in a particular Makerspot for your class or student/s.)
  • Lego Table
  • Technology Take Apart -- Just added "Things Come Apart" and "The Art of Clean Up" as inspirational titles. Beautiful.
  • Letters & Words: Field Day Thank you note
  • Osmo Tangrams
  • Temple Building
  • LittleBits
  • Look Closely: Drawing from nature
  • More to come!
During a class Sneak Peek, students are given a Makerspace orientation, assigned a Makerspot to try out ,and asked to complete a rating card. Fun! Exciting!

(Just a note: Can't wait til there is a dedicated space for the Makerspace after the remodel!)

Monday, May 25, 2015

LaQ Blocks

I discovered LaQ blocks last week. Amazing! One set of 175 small blocks and connectors, one librarian, one technology integrator and a bunch of kids... we all had lots fun with them. They make a very satisfying click, and are easy to put together and take apart. But they are hard to find! I'm hoping to get more -- and soon!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Agency by Design
I've been trying to find a really good way to explain a maker space in a school library. I may have found it in this project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education--Agency by Design. The Educator Resources section includes this nugget--A key goal of maker-centered education is to help young people and adults feel empowered to build and shape their worlds--and four "thinking routines" to help reach that goal.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Un-Maker Project?

Some kids just LOVE taking things apart, so I've got a challenge for them. Can they take apart this radio/cassette/CD unit and match part with function? How many parts does it contain? How many parts can be named? It will take some detective work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Green Screen Fun

Simply hanging up a green screen and downloading the DoInk Green Screen app has allowed some photo fun in the LMC. The kids' eyes widen a bit when they see some photos and then they start thinking of their own. Shazam! Increased engagement and empowerment--students bringing new ideas to their projects and into their classrooms.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Construction Engineers

I'm really excited about nurturing the building talents of young students. Our makerspace has obtained a set of Mr. McGroovy's Box Rivets to help our builders create without using messy glue. These rivets are plastic, reusable, and allow sturdy construction using recycled cardboard. Can't wait to see what gets made!

"The Cardboard Box Book" is full of fun ideas for cardboard building. But that is just to get us started. The real cool stuff is lurking somewhere in the creative minds of our students.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

LittleBits has been very popular with older students. LittleBits is an easy way to learn and invent using electronic modules that snap together in a snap. Our kit has 18 modules and, according to the website, can be used to make over 1 million possible circuit combinations. We're not there yet, though. Still working through the helpful, illustrated project booklet that came with the kit.

The LMC Lego table was repurposed from a primary table with a flip top. One side is a write-on board. Nine Lego baseplates were glued onto the other side, making a very nice table for small groups to create and build. A kind community member donated 10 pounds of Legos so there is a huge variety of pieces. (We can always use more pieces, especially basic blocks, so if you are feeling generous, please consider donating.) Interesting note: The Lego table was set up for about 5 school days before anyone dared reach in the bucket and start building. It's been fun to watch the brave and curious. Mostly attracting younger students thus far.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our makerspace is not just a technology tinker space, but it IS that, too. Here are two highlights:
MaKey MaKey: This is a very small computer board with several alligator clamps. Basically, it turns objects into a keyboard and connects to a computer and the Internet. It is super fun and not really easy, but good instructions make it doable for upper elementary students. Created in a lab at MIT.
Squishy Circuits: Using PlayDoh, modeling clay, batteries, and LED lights, kids learn about electrical circuits while having fun designing. Exploratory learning with curiosity and fun added in. Created by the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hello! I am Monica Millen, the LMTS (library media technology specialist) at Huegel Elementary. My passion this year is the creation of a new LMC for the Huegel learning community. Since I started at Huegel in 3 years ago, the Huegel LMC has been developing into something new and exciting. But this past year has been the most amazing. Most significantly, we have begun the G1 journey, after applying and subsequently being selected as one of the first MMSD schools to be a 1:1 learning environment. Since then, there have been huge changes at Huegel (planning for new learning spaces, personalized learning, etc) in general and in the LMC specifically.
Most recently, in the LMC, the first big news is the remodel that will be done because our wonderful voters approved the MMSD referendum. I've been dreaming and planning for months and soon the actual work will start. That's exciting beyond measure!
Part of our G1 application proposal was the commitment to transform the LMC into a new LMC that includes learning spaces conducive to digital learning and exploration. This includes collaboration stations for students with individual devices, quiet spots for reflective thinking, large group sharing areas, and a makerspace. All of those spaces will coexist within the larger space that is flexible and able to be reconfigured instantly as needs change.
Makerspaces generally include several spaces with collections of tools and materials for self-directed student learning. In an elementary school, a makerspace also needs to provide learning experiences that are appropriate for many age groups. At Huegel, this includes kindergarten through fifth grade, five- to eleven-year-olds.
Future posts will describe how this makerspace is created for Huegel LMC (which will soon get a new name, at least I hope it will).