learning to ask questions
Last month my school, Penketh High School in Warrington opened the first state school makerspace in the UK, @SparkPenketh, and began embedding making within the national curriculum.
We knew we’d done something big by opening the space and we knew it was important. It’s a place for kids to be able to ask questions and not just learn answers. There’s nothing like it in any other school in Britain at the moment and we want to change that. So we’ve launched the Society of School Makerspaces and are running the first UK Maker Education unconference, MakerNoise this 7 July at Edge Hill University, to give teachers a platform for change.
Kids are so creative and buzzing with amazing ideas, but our education system quickly knocks that out of them in favour of testing, which is why makerspaces are so important. When Pete Lomas, co-creator of RaspberryPi, opened our space he pointed out that kids use tech, like their phones, all the time but that it’s “sealed”: they can’t easily break in to ask, “What happens if…?” Hence the birth of Raspberry Pi. That same questioning ethos lies at the heart of what we do at Spark.
So far Spark has introduced Physical Computing for All to give all 1,000 kids in the school the opportunity to tinker, modify and hack, and have twinned with Fayetteville Makerspace, North Carolina, US, to launch RoboDojo where kids in different makerspaces can build robots and link them up via IoT using Rpi. Exciting times lie ahead!