The summer UnConference on August 24th was great fun and much was learned. We had a diverse group of 28 makerspace leaders, educators and prospective leaders attend the unconference. The topics proposed were as diverse as the attendees and we ended up with two session of 8 topics as opposed to 4 topics. After a rousing few hours of discussion we gathered for lunch and summaries from each of the topics discussed.
Here are the highlights!
There was a critical mass of educators at the table and the conversation skewed toward sustainability in educational spaces.
- Defining culture was identified as very important to success
- Real world applications of making for students was discussed; i.e. making as an activity that leads to businesses for students
- Expressing and exploring why making is important was identified as key to setting a sustainable environment
- A open discussion was had exploring learning formats and styles including project based learning and unstructured learning.
- How to balance safety without stifling making with kids and younger students was discussed – how to successfully express Safety 3rd to a less mature audience
- Taxonomies and language around safety were shared.
- Schemes for providing tool supervisions or student teachers was explored.
- We talked about open source soft skills classes for maker and shared spaces
- We explored various experiences where things went well or not so when when handling problem members
- We talked about what de-escalation could look like
- Structures for peer reviews
- Much listening to each others stories was done… good bonding.
Culture – Group 1
Culture was too big a topic and split into two groups very quickly. Group one talked about:
- exposure groups
- Themes for creating inclusive environments
- Cirrocumulus for diverse learning styles / unstructured learning
- peer experts
- community mentors
- Hack the Future
Culture – Group 2
Group two focused on the integration of STEM across an organization.
- Motivation and values
- Free food
- tool access
- Role models
- Aging out
- Training a successor
Emergency Preparedness and Legal requirements
This group talked about emergency preparedness in two aspects. The first was greater community needs and crisis such as air quality crisis or earthquakes and where makerspaces fit in to the community response to such things. There were many opportunities identified for all types of spaces. The second was how to deal with emergency within the overall space community. We identified some good ideas for Bay Area Community response such as:
- Actually make a plan for likely emergencies like loosing a lease, a fire, being shut down for code issues, etc.
- Just pay for the insurance, as much as you can
- Hope is not a plan… nor is a scattershot though generous response from the community going to cover everything
Sharing Community Resources
This group had a really lively and fun discussion. They identified to large themes for successful community resource sharing:
1) a need for systems that make sharing not a burden
- Process or platforms for group buying of materials and supplies
- Crowdsourcing access to repair services or insurance
- Leveraging group buying power for big tools
2) Making Education and information more accessible
- Centralized knowledge
- Avoiding single person dependancies
- Sharing information about materials, vendors etc.
Tool Certifications and Use Policies
This pragmatic group identifed needs and discussed
- Access systems, specifically The FATT Project.
- Use with guidance vs Solo Use vs Use with supervision
- Naming tools and imbuing them with a personality as method of getting user to respect the more
- Stewardship / Tool Expert programs
- A Space Crawl or other way for us to learn from each other by visiting each others spaces.
As you an tell this was a really rich afternoon of conversation, knowledge sharing and learning. Over the next month we will be posts about the Topics using the excellent notes folks shared.