The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education (COE) hosted a hands-on field trip last month for Stafford County Public School teachers, who left with plenty of lessons to take back to their classrooms.
The main goal of the day was helping educators discover new, innovative resources to implement into their academic toolkit. Each one had an opportunity to experience the COE makerspace, a technology- and tool-filled area open to Mary Washington students and local educators.
“Makerspaces are designed to give students real-life, modern skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while also allowing them to think critically with innovative problem solving and creativity. With the evolution of our technological age, giving students access to these skills has never been more important,” said UMW College of Education Dean Pete Kelly. “The University’s partnership with Stafford County Public Schools gives our local educators the best resources to confidently implement makerspaces into their schools.”
The group convened in the College of Education’s newly renovated home of Seacobeck Hall, with four sessions facilitated by UMW faculty members Kristina Peck, Kevin Good and Danielle Springston, as well as Stafford County Instructional Technology Coordinator Monica VanHusen.
The day’s sessions included:
Creating a Makerspace That Works: This session defined what a makerspace is and taught educators how to use the makerspace to create an inclusive and inviting space for all students and teachers.
Our Space-Our Place: This session gathered Stafford schools to collaborate on creating strategies for successfully and effectively implementing makerspaces into classrooms.
Makerspace + Content = Engagement: In this session, educators learned how to integrate makerspaces into their content lessons in ways that encourage students to learn from their failures, think outside the box and engage with content in real world situations.
Sandbox – Let’s Play: This session allowed educators to explore different levels of technology – high, low and zero – to evaluate how each level will benefit the makerspace in schools.
“The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education has been a valuable partner in our effort to provide Stafford students with industry-leading resources, such as makerspaces. The University’s generosity has had a tremendous impact on the enhancements we are able to provide for our students, and we are grateful for this important partnership,” said Stafford Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas W. Taylor.
The UMW makerspace is located in Seacobeck Hall, the College of Education’s newly renovated building, equipped with the latest technologies and flexible classroom spaces. This space has been specifically designed to accommodate not just the University’s students, but also to welcome local educators who want to use its amenities.
“The University has been a tremendous supporter of not only the education of the young minds of our community but the teachers who work hard to educate them,” Taylor said. “Stafford is a great place to live, work and learn because of the many ways we invest in our own. I look forward to celebrating our continued success as a learning community as together we Elevate Stafford.”