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McMakerspace an opportunity for hands-on learning

“The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in the types of skillsets that have real, applicable value in a rapidly advancing world. In this landscape, creativity, design, and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations, as tools such as robotics, 3D printers, and web-based 3D modeling applications become accessible to more people. Makerspaces are increasingly being looked to as a method for engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration”
--NMC Horizon Report


McNicholas High School recently opened McMakerspace, a room dedicated to hands-on learning. The product could be physical or digital, but the end-goal is that students have experienced the design process to create something.

Director of Educational Technology Emily Materna coordinates the makerspace, a place where classroom concepts meet real-world applications. "Working on projects in the makerspace helps students build perseverance as they experiment, test, evaluate, and modify their work," she said.  "Work in the makerspace also exposes students to new opportunities and helps them develop collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills."

 Currently, McNicholas students have access to 

  • Virtual Reality Set- students can go on virtual field trips
  • Four computers with specific design software
  • Three 3D printers
  • Laminator
  • Spheros
  • Cubelets
  • Makey Makey
  • Legos
  • Art Supplies
  • CNC Router
  • Poster Printer

Materna coordinates makerspace sessions during every Explore bell and hosts the Maker Club afterschool on Thursdays.  Time in McMakerspace also is available by appointment by contacting 



Students use virtual reality headsets to explore mountains during a recent Explore bell in McMakerspace.

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