Makerspace Room at the William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus is renamed Kinsmen Makerspace. From left to right

Kinsmen Makerspace, a digital hub for students

The Makerspace room of William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus was renamed Kinsmen Makerspace on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at a gathering.

The Makerspace room of William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus was renamed Kinsmen Makerspace on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at a gathering where representatives of various organizations that made the transformation possible were present.

Since the majority of the funding from the community came from the Kinsmen Club, the Clearview Public Schools Division has agreed to name it the Kinsmen Makerspace for the next five years.

Financial contributions also came from other local organizations, TD Canada Trust, Superfluity and Heartland Auto Supply.

The idea of the Makerspace room came about as a result of conversations between Peter Barron, Superintendent of Clearview Public Schools and Norbert Baharally, Principal of William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus during the course of the previous school year, 2014-2015.

“With the reconfiguration of the schools at the Stettler school complex, it was a great opportunity and time for us to implement something new and different into our learning environment,” said Baharally.

They started by researching what Makerspaces looked like and the purpose of it.

After finding out some basic facts, they visited the Edmonton Public Library to see their Makerspace and attended some Makerspace workshops and seminars that were happening around the province to find out how to tie the Makerspace movement into the various curricular programs.

“After all the background work, we looked for a space within the school that could serve our needs and then we started to solicit various service clubs and organizations in our community to secure some funding to outfit the Makerspace room with equipment and necessary tools,” continued Baharally. “We also worked closely with Clearview School Division and completed some minor modernizations to the room to meet our needs and requirements.”

Dave Morris has been one of leads in getting the Makerspace room up and running.

“He has been involved in working with me in securing some of the funding, attending the workshops, purchasing of the equipment and maintaining and setting up the area,” added Baharally. “Mrs. Pat Ough, one of our teacher assistants has also played a key role in working directly with our students supervising them when they are in there working, she has been crucial in the delivery of programming as part of the rotation of the junior high county option program at our school on Tuesday mornings.”

In the Kinsmen Makerspace, the students have access to digital photography projects and editing software, including video editing, robotics, computer programming, simple circuitry, soldering, wood working, all sorts of hand tools, 3-D printing and a recording studio.

“They are able to use these areas to explore their creative and innovative side of learning, and we just want to encourage students to come into the space and tinker around,” said Baharally. “We have become too much of a consumer economy, as soon as something is broken or does not work, we simply want to go out and buy a new one, so we want to try to encourage students to be creative and use their hands and minds to be creative and to be patient and perhaps invent something instead of buying it new.” Baharally calls it the ‘Maker Movement’ and wants to try to start promoting it within the schools and even tie it into the curriculum with project-based learning in the Clearview classrooms.

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