[Week 4 Activity] Visit a Learning Space


The space I chose to visit is in the middle/upper school library at my school. It is one of three makerspaces we have on campus. A few years ago our librarian decided to redesign the whole library space and she created an area where students could come and work on projects for their classes or just to satisfy their personal desire to create something. I am sharing just one picture which is a snapshot in time and cannot fully express all the different kinds of activites that happen in this area. Students use the materials and tools in the cupboards and on the shelves (not shown in this picture) to sew, 3D print, print posters, build with all kinds of materials (cardboard, LEGOs, wood, yarn, pipecleaners, etc.) work on electical circuits, … you name it.

The central tables and the tables around the area all serve as work spaces where students can work together or side by side. They see each other’s work, discuss each other’s work, and spawn new ideas for future work. The only changes I would make would be to replace the old wooden library chairs with new ones with wheels and to increase the amount of storage space for in-progress projects and display space for finished projects.

The area is usually occupied by full classes or by students who have a study hall or have requested to work here during class. This space has totally changed the atmosphere of the library. What was once a quiet study space is now a bustling center of activity. Something new is created and shared just about every day.


You school sounds amazing. Where is it? I would love to visit. I work with students in a classroom we call the "Innovations Station. It is a makerspace for elelmentary school students. Can you give me the manufacturer’s name for the tables that you can flip? I have four large tables in my makerspace classroom and they are always in the way when we need to work on the floor.


My school district has an Innovation Center that is used by staff and students from all grade levels to participate in STEM and STEAM activities. The Center has a variety of spaces including an amphitheater, classrooms with and without labs, conference rooms and a fab lab. Much of the work that is done in the fab lab is collaborative projects. The lab includes traditional raised lab tables with stools as well as tables and chairs with wheels that can be reconfigured. There is a variety of equipment including vinyl cutters, 3D printers and much more.

I work with elementary students, K-5, at the Innovation Center. Students are teamed up to work on a design challenge. They might have to invent something using littleBits, build a creature that lights up using Squishy Circuits or design an obstacle course for a Sphero. The group, that may number up to 60 students, always starts in the amphitheater where they receive helpful information and discuss what makes a great partner. Then the students move to a lab or classroom to design and build their project.

The rooms that the students use have movable furniture. I call the tables partner tables because they seat two. If moved together, they can seat more. There is sufficient space to arrange all the supplies so that students can look them over and imagine what they might build. Students can move around and view what others are doing or offer advice if something isn’t working. Sometimes students as teams video their final project using Flipgrid. The Chromebooks they use are at a separate station, so as to not distract them from their design work.

If I could improve the Innovation Center, I would enlarge some of the rooms. The projects that the elementary students work on require a lot of space. In some rooms it’s difficult to move around because of all the tables. I would also add computer/chromebook stations. Currently we bring in chromebooks and set them up on tables. It would be better if there were permanent stations to insure the devices are always charged. Plus the devices could be used for more than just recording. Student teams could research if they had a question. Or teams may want to create a different online project to share their work.

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My favorite aspect of this space is that all the wall space is occupied by curated artwork and projects!! way to go, lights and all! How often do you change that up. Curating vertically is so fun, (widens those walls as Mitch says) Do you let our young people decide on what they can post on the walls? Despite the furniture being immovable do you change up the design of the space? Thanks for sharing


During a recent PD day, we were lucky enough to take a trip to the materials center in NYC. While I didn’t take any photos while I was there, the materials center was a cozy room with carpets, lamps, high top tables, low tables, and floor space to work on. Most importantly, the materials center hosts thousands of materials with which visitors are welcome to create, build, discuss and discover. Materials were mostly organized by type (a section for envelopes, a section for yarn, a section for foam shapes, etc.) and the room was packed with items to explore. Children and adults alike feel comfortable in the space because it is inviting and safe. There are or how to use and no assigned seating. We had a great time during our trip and even purchased some found materials to bring back to our classroom! It’s a really neat space to visit next time you’re in NYC!


I guess i m going to write about how the Hellenic Children Museum fullfills all these goals! I was doing some voluntary work there a few years ago and i know that this museum is interactive by principal. I m going to describe only one of its exibits that take place there as an example.The exibit called - the seabed- and it is suitable for children from 2 years to 12 years old.
It is a room painted blue and the ceiling is covered by blue see-through fabrics in order to have the illusion that you are under the surface.There are rocks wih sea creatures all over and mirrors that you can see yourself disorted exactly as you can see an image under the water.
Everything that is inside this exibit is availiable to be touched and experiment by the children! Most of the things are placed at the corners of the rooms or on the walls in order the cental area remains empty for action.
The educational program is based on making children understand how fish feel and the dangers that they have to cope with (littering , go to extinct by overfishing ect)
First of all ,chidren sit in a circle on the floor so as they can look one another and what they can see what everyone holds. In that case they hold a picture of a different sea creature and everyone has to describe the sea animal they see. After thatm a game comes through! Children collaborate to make a sea animal all together and the teacher must guess what it is!
After that children wear costumes and become sea creatures themselves and they start to act like them without directions! Meanwhile they have to find ways to rescue themselves and the other animals from the dangers that come through!( ex a boat that throws oil and rubbish in the sea)
At the end, all childern decide to send a message to humans with their complains.So tthey draw and write their complains and possible solutions in one huge paper all together in order to send it to the humans world!
i think this programm encourage the collaboration between children as far it makes them feel how it is to be in the problem.It also make them think solutions and actions without rejecting anyones opinion.
I think the whole concept is satisfying and the only thing i would change is the decoration and the variety of things that they are in the exibit in order to make the place more undersea look like. But i understand that they make the most of it due to their bugdet.
Here is a picture with some children- and me forming a sea animal! guess what!


Wow, what an eye-opening week it was to find a Creative Learning Space. I went to a children’s gym. I didn’t see collaboration, rather I saw individuals practicing. I went to a public park. I saw lots of collaboration and social learning, but not the conceptual learning I was looking to describe. I came home and considered all the collaborative learning that takes place at my kitchen table as well as the creative learning that takes place in my classroom at work, but I wanted to describe something unfamiliar.

What luck to find the local library with a children’s program about butterflies! The presentation/room was divided into four spaces. In the collage image I share only three, (1) the art table space (the picture shows only left over art supplies after the children had left the room) where there were lots of opportunities to see what others were doing, be inspired and inspire others, (2) and the live caterpillars/butterflies presentation space (you can find 1 caterpillar still hiding under a leaf and 2 cocoons hanging from the branches) where the children heard about butterflies and caterpillars (apparently, E. Carlyle was quite accurate in depicting how his Hungry Caterpillar/brand new butterfly’s first meal is nibbling through it’s own cocoon), (3) and the library book display space. The space not included in the collage is the courtyard where dozens of butterflies were set free to fly away - and they did.

I wouldn’t change anything about the space and how it fostered creative learning. I love how the presentation was designed for children to get up and move around, mirroring the movement of hatching butterflies - fluttering around, changing their body positions, who they were next to, moving around inside and outside, and then a bit of stillness as they sat down and played in a creative space at long tables filled with art supplies.

I saw a combination of the kids gym where children could digest new information at their own pace and the public park where children could take that new information and create collaboratively in an art-supplies-filled sand box.


Investigación virus y bacterias

1.Descripción de la experiencia.
La experiencia que compartiré fue parte del trabajo que realizaba como parte de la organización Odisea A.C., en unidades rurales y urbanas de aprendizaje, Las rurales funcionaban en escuelas y las urbanas en un espacio prestado por el Instituto de Educación para Adultos (IZEA) para el trabajo con los niños bajo rendimiento académico en las escuelas del estado de Zacatecas, México. Una de las actividades incluidas en el modelo que propusimos era la realización de investigaciones con los niños, ellos escogían el tema y nosotros asesorábamos al docente para adaptar los requerimientos académicos que debían cubrir según el grado escolar de los niños. En cada unidad de aprendizaje podían elegir temas individuales, por pares, equipos o varias pequeñas investigaciones que integraban una sola investigación de todo el grupo.
Esta investigación partió del gran impacto psicológico y emocional que tuvo en los niños la epidemia de Influenza ocurrida en México. Pensaban que se iban a morir y con los folletos que repartían los centros de salud ilustrando a los virus como pequeños monstruos pero con información poco clara y en algunos casos con lenguaje técnico elevado o no explicado, en lugar de servir amplifico el efecto de impotencia.
Los niños ya tenían como práctica habitual la realización de investigaciones durante el ciclo escolar pero en ese momento los niños de los 20 centros coincidieron en realizar sus investigaciones acerca de los “virus y bacterias”.
Se planeó un taller cuyo objetivo fue hacer de la situación de emergencia sanitaria una experiencia educativa, proporcionándoles materiales y acompañamiento, además de usar la red de la correspondencia, biblioteca ambulante y el cineclub -ya en funcionamiento-, para intercambiar información y puntos de vista acerca de la situación en los 20 municipios del estado y al concluir todas las investigaciones se organizó un evento al que los niños nombraron Encuentro de investigadores, donde presentaron sus conclusiones, y, ya que parte del problema de la crisis y el terror causado en ellos había sido la desinformación, incluso inventaron el juego de “Mentiras y verdades” para asegurarse de que todos estaban tenido claridad sobre el asunto. Participaron en las investigaciones niños de preescolar, primaria y secundaria (de 4 a 15 años), docentes, padres de familia y facilitadores de Odisea.
Algunos comentarios de los niños

  • Fue Brenda, de la comunidad de El Salto, Tabasco quien lo expresó de esta forma: “en la televisión y en los papelitos que daban los doctores nada más nos decían que nos laváramos las manos y que nos pusiéramos cubre bocas, pero no nos decían por qué debíamos hacerlo, por eso hasta asustaban”.
  • Establecimos una comisión de higiene en cada grupo, de la misma manera en que existen las comisiones para llevar el registro de la biblioteca ambulante, la correspondencia, la revista escolar y el
  • Una de las conclusiones del Encuentro de Investigadores: “Al final aprendimos muchas cosas pero tenemos nuevas preguntas: Si no nos cuidamos y no cuidamos nuestro ambiente, ¿surgirán nuevas enfermedades como la influenza AH1N1?”


  1. Configuración del espacio
    La configuración del espacio fue fundamental pues todos estaban trabajando diferentes aristas del mismo tema, y todos necesitaban usar la única computadora existente en cada centro, los materiales informativos impresos y gráficos, así como saber el avance de sus compañeros para poder armar su parte, además del equipo que iba armando los materiales gráficos y los de la demostración de la colonia de bacterias Tíbicus (que no eran monstruos sino benéficas para el ser humano). Por lo que se organizaron los materiales de consulta por área temática alrededor del “salón de ceremonias” junto con los materiales y herramientas para los gráficos, las mesas para 4 a 6 personas se colocaron en media luna para el trabajo de equipos con 3 mesas de comedor que prestaron los padres de familia: una se colocó en el extremo derecho para el equipo que realizaría maquetas, representaciones con objetos y carteles y en el otro extremo otra mesa para la experimentación y seguimiento de la reproducción de las colonias de bacterias llamada Tibicus (son colonias de bacterias que trabajan como las de yogurt, pero esta se alimentan de agua endulzada con piloncillo); La última mesa estaba al frente y al centro de la media luna, ya que cada día cada equipo daba un avance de lo más relevante del subtema investigado.
    ![4ExperimenTibicus|640x480] (upload://2N1DvX5Ml9ZE8VCNsl82m2KzWWO.jpg)
  2. La colaboración
    La colaboración entre los niños fue casi inmejorable: aunque hubo momentos de conflicto por diferencias en la expresión de su información, tuvimos que parar para hacer un ejercicio en el que identificaran las diferencias entre argumento y opinión y realizar otro ejercicio cuando tomaron como personal una crítica de la información presentada. La colaboración de los docentes se vio afectada por las formalidades académicas, pues debido a la suspensión de clases por la emergencia sanitaria y a la cercanía del fin del ciclo escolar su atención pasó a cumplir con los requisitos administrativos. El trabajo de varios equipos (y entre ellos) hubiera sido casi imposible con los pupitres alineados, por ejemplo: la realización de carteles o la sección de experimentación, y hasta el uso del piso fue importante en el respeto al trabajo de los demás.
    Yo cambiaría el acartonamiento del aparato administrativo y rigidez curricular del sistema educativo mexicano, ya que impide que los docentes y alumnos se desarrollen en todo su potencial. Durante las investigaciones tratamos varios materias de la curricula e incluso los mismos niños diseñaron sus evaluaciones desde matemáticas hasta español pasando por ecología y educación cívica, sin embargo, esas evaluaciones no son válidas de acuerdo al ordenamiento administrativo y curricular.
  3. Los mentores o asesores.
    En la propuesta del equipo del MIT media lab se menciona el término “Mentor”, aquí en México ese término se usa mayoritariamente para los asesores académicos de grados altos, pero las actividades y actitudes que se propone para estos son propias de lo que aquí llamamos “facilitador”. Los facilitadores acompañan los procesos, En este caso los facilitadores de Odisea, proporcionaron materiales, ayudaron a aclarar las preguntas de los niños para que se facilitara la búsqueda de respuestas, auxiliaron al docente para integrar ciertas actividades y ejercicios relacionados con las competencias que se podían desarrollar de acuerdo al nivel de conocimientos de los diferentes niños, les propusieron el experimento de los Tibicus como una manera de entender el papel del virus y bacterias así como para demostrarlo de manera concreta, colaboraron en el diseño de ejercicios para atender los conflictos interpersonales. Los docentes se transformaron en facilitadores de manera temporal y retomaron su papel como maestros (con todo lo que eso conlleva) cuando el sistema presiono para el cumplimiento de los requisitos usuales.

    Se colabora, se inventa, se experimenta
    Sí se colaboró a varios niveles y se experimentó, sin embargo, solamente no sé si se pueda decir que hubo invención, sí se descubrieron varias cosas y se utilizó la creatividad para la transformación de los contenidos del tema para que la información fuera comprensible


Hi, ikaufm, I didn’t want to add a bunch of pictures but what you can’t see to the right of the table is a long set of shelves, three levels high and open on both sides. This is where the students store their projects, both in progress and finished. Yes, they pretty much choose what they want to leave thee for display and waht they want to take with them. Many kids work on personal projects in sewing and 3D printing which they take when they are done because they want to use them.

The layout of the furniture has remained pretty much the same for about three years. The chairs and small tables move around, but not the big heavy shelves or big tables.

I am sharing below some images of the space where I teach. We do move those tables chairs around quite a bit. These pictures were taken at the beginning of the year before the kids started making things. The shelves are now full of projects, either in progress or completed. I’ll see if I can find a couple of pics of those.

![IMG_6054|666x500]33 AM41 AM(upload://jfw5CzNkg4W0m1OWyJ5XvRh7MZm.JPG)


These two pieces, “Life is Short and So and I” and “Bare Bones” are a culmination of in studio work and 2 sessions of the creative Learning space I love: Melanie Mathews’ From Photo to Painting Course at Dawson College in Montreal. I don’t have a photo of class: I am often too busy working or figuring out what I am going to work on to think of snapping photos.

Each student choses one large image, or 4 linked images, printed twice to create 4 12x12 pieces in a series.

We are set up 2 per table, or 1 in the outer circle if you tend to spread out. There are 8-13 students per session, 10 sessions, once a week for 3 hours. She follows a specific syllabus to give people to tools to layer acrylics with various image transfer techniques, glazing, painting, stencilling on texture.

Once you’ve gone through the course, you are welcome to come as an independent student to consult with her expertise, to enjoy the social dynamic of the group, to gather ideas and share ideas with others.

She covers a LOT of ground so the students need to stay pretty focused the first time through. One student and I take some time after class to explore some ideas she has that we don’t have time to discuss in class.

I have developed some important and lasting friendships in this group where we consult each other on our artistic development, we seek feedback and suggestions, technical advice and discoveries on materials and tools.

I spend a lot of time painting in my own studio but find I do not have the same level of satisfaction and challenge I get when in a social setting. One of my peers, and friends, comes because she is not able to get the uninterrupted creation time at home. We also get access to high quality artistic materials at no additional cost, in addition to Melanie’s expertise and advice.

We all do little tours of everyone else’s work on the way to the sink to wash brushes, change water, because of the physical layout of the class. Those little tours provide lots of inspiration and food for thought. I am working on plexiglass rather than wooden panel and 2 students have already expressed a desire to do their own plexiglass works.

One great benefit I experienced was participating in a month long exhibition of continuing ed. artworks. The deadline forced me to complete the piece and find an innovative way of combining all these different elements around the same piece. Without the public audience aspect, they would have remained a series of clutter on a shelf. It took the encouragement of my friend and my teacher to get me there. A bit of faith from others really helped to validate the worth of my work.


The Scratch community is new to me; the spirit of collaboration refreshing! “Seeing inside” other peoples’/peers’ projects is fascinating and inspiring. And a welcome antidote to much of the competitive spirit that seems to prevail in the “real world”.
While, in education, a lot of lip service is paid to collaboration, I don’t see a lot of it actualized in the elementary school classroom.
I am a regular at the MoMath’s (Museum of Mathematics) free, first Wed.s’ “Encounters”. They, almost always, include an activity along with the presentation. Possibly one of my favorite was, when, at their older location, they had circular tables, and, after a presentation on Mathematics and Islamic Art, each table was given tape and was told they had to figure out how to divide up the table into equal pieces without any kind of measuring device. It was wonderful to hear everyone’s ideas!
I work in the public library a lot, but have yet to see the type of set up described in the Computer Clubhouse. The set up is pretty conventional: rows of computers or desks and relative quiet, independent work. But, then, the focus has always been pretty basic (conveying info)., not project-based or detail-oriented. Sometimes, if they’re not enough computers, one might have to share.
I, occasionally, go to a couple of makers’ spaces near my apt. to experiment with 3-D printing. Some spaces and makers are “friendlier” or more generous than others, but all are set up pretty conventionally: for makers to work independently.
Insofar as my experience with Scratch is concerned, and how it has influenced my own projects: first I had attempted to use the “see inside” feature to see how peers might have achieved the click & drag option I was trying to achieve (see, especially, cyberparra’s brilliant #182 from week 3). When that didn’t work, I just used trial and error. Each modification has brought me a step closer to my goal. I’m hoping, with my next modification, I’ll be able to have the participant click on the # in order to return the feature/sprite to the “key.” Started playing with the “if”/“then” control, but will have to revisit it.


This is our Early Childhood Education Tinkering Lab. It is used for teacher preparation and professional development. We construct, tinkering, take apart, eat, create and more. In this picture you see me instructing professional development students to switch stations during a “tool speed dating” activity in which small groups of students have 10-15 minutes to examine a tool, use it, and complete a how to sheet about each tool.
The pods of desks and easily moved chairs create natural learning groups in the lab. There is also not a focal point and the instructional tech is up against a wall which I believes decenters the instructor from being the “source” of knowledge. There are also not individual desks or computers.

I would make a few changes. I would love to have more prodominant areas to display student ideas and work. More shelves, chalkboard walls to write on, a big whiteboard, etc. I would also like to have a nook that students could go to work alone or in pairs because the room is small and becomes overwhelming and noisy.


This sounds really interesting. I would like to know more about your school!


I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with my pupils in a learning space in Thessaloniki - Greece, called i-nous.. There the kids could work on projects implemented using the latest technological tools.Also the learning environment was ideal and the kids participated with unique maturity. I strongly believe that “the tools don’t make the teacher” but they promote knowledge to the fullest extent, especially when it comes to using technology. I never forget the satisfaction in kids faces and I try to repeat the activity every year.
If we want to be realists we have to admit that the learning space and the learning means are very important for everyone to dive into projects with passion and creativity. Computer clubhouse Centers remind me a lot of i-nous learning space.
The sad thing about Greece is that we have great ideas and great teachers but very poor means to establish and evolve knowledge… That’s exactly the reason that we are ingenious and for that admirable. I don’t mean to brag but creativity is what saves us… At dawn of 21st century, us, Greek teachers feel like Odysseus ( you know… with the Trojian horse) all over again. It’s not necessarily bad. It produces other qualities in people…


This is a setup in a group of masters students in teacher education. We are three supervisors collaborating on supervision and meet our students every three weeks for two hours. We usually give a short presentation about relevant issues, break into smaller groups and each describes briefly what they are working on and what they will go for next and finally the main time is allocated for writing. We also have tee and coffee with something nice the students bring. This is an example of a learning space where creativity and collaboration is encouraged, mostly in written form!


This sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about your school? And this Tinkering Lab? I would love to have such a lab /maker space in my university (teacher education).


Queenstown, New Zealand - you’d be more than welcome to visit :grinning:


sounds amazing and love the visual arts - like the fact that the art students learn the skills and then can come in as an independent student for feedback, gather ideas and be part of the social dynamic of the group. Audience is also key to whatever we create - I think it helps to deepen the meaning of our creations. Thanks @MissMissShelly for sharing - great inspiration.:grinning:


A Cafe is the ‘learning Space’ we use often with a few friends. ( This Activity of “visiting a learning space”, made me realize that although I want to see this group as lifelong learning opportunity, we don’t have a learning space -nor online neither offline.)

  • In this cafe people TALK. Actually, now I see we meet there to talk, to make plans of projects (many of which haven’t pass this stage of ‘plans’), we give ideas, some people take notes, …
  • The set up and design of the spaces we visit like this Cafe does support the sharing of ideas (although a blender sounds in the middle of many of the ideas). The building on each other’s ideas here is hard.
  • To make it more collaborative, I would suggest to take away the noise from kitchen (specially the blender), although, for our group of people more than trying to change this place, I would switch places. I would switch places, specially because now I realize that the environment we move around, both online and offline, is more for talking: Online we have a Whatsapp group full of messages that few read, we don’t have a working website… and offline, with a few exceptions of classrooms, we use places like Cafes for the meetings every other 15 days.

If a group of people doesn’t have a learning space, what would be your advice? (I want that the 4 P’s permeates the communities I’m involved, and I see that somehow we have them, but…).