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LA Makerspace Maker Librarian Training


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LA Makerspace is a 501(c)3 nonprofit which trains non-techie, non-educator librarians to help kids learn skills like coding and robotics, without needing to become experts themselves. We have trained hundreds of librarians in the Los Angeles City and County Public Library systems and are excited to share this information with you!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (ie, free to share and remix, but not to sell)

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LA Makerspace Maker Librarian Training

  1. 1. L.A. Makerspace Maker Librarian Training 2/17/2018
  2. 2. L.A. Makerspace is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by Maker parents.
  3. 3. Making includes everything from coding to cooking!  It reminds us we can create, and not just consume. Q: Who can call themselves a Maker? A: Everybody.
  4. 4. Modeling Reflection Trouble-shooting Challenging received cultural beliefs Fun!  About this training It utilizes a lot of the techniques we are teaching, so keep your eyes peeled for:
  5. 5. What is Maker learning? and why is it important?
  6. 6. Intrinsic Motivation
  7. 7. Culture challenge! Learning produces dopamine (the reward chemical) because, like eating and reproducing, it's basic to human survival. Yet it's not thought of as "fun," it's considered "work."
  8. 8. Culture Challenge! In school, "copying" is discouraged. But if you're a working coder and you don't cut and paste the best existing code wherever possible, you'll be in trouble. Because "reinventing the wheel" wastes time you could have spent creating new things. Note: we'll be using some examples from computer science, but these are true for all kinds of Making.
  9. 9. Culture Challenge! Another surprise: In the real world coding is done as part of a team, or even together on the same computer. Having more brains working on a problem is just better.
  10. 10. Computational Thinking "Computational Thinking" is a set of problem-solving skills derived from computer science that can be applied to many different goals.
  11. 11. "Decomposition" (breaking things down into parts or steps) and "Sequencing" (putting the parts in the right order to achieve a goal) are the heart of problem-solving. Sequencing skills are even basic to  language, as this English exercise for kindergarteners illustrates.
  12. 12. Will Smith Culture Challenge!
  13. 13. First, you "hang out" there, just because your friends are there or you have some other reason to visit. Then, you "mess around" by trying something new, with low stakes. And if you discover you enjoy it -- then you "geek out" and teach yourself everything you need to know to get great at it! How a Makerspace encourages learning new skills
  14. 14. We define a Makerspace as "anywhere Makers gather to share tools and information." So, we designed our Maker workshops to function as the "messing around" phase of HOMAGO, and provide the participants with the impetus to "geek out" using all the further information available at the library.
  15. 15. Reflection Intrinsic Motivation, Information Finding, Computational Thinking, Failure, HOMAGO Is there an instance in your own life experience that sheds light on what we've discussed?
  16. 16. Humans (and robots) learn best by imitation, or "modeling." If a child is learning in a regular education structure, all they can observe about how learning works is, "the student knows nothing, and the teacher knows everything." But, if there is an adult willing to say, "I don't know, but these are the steps I take to find out," the child can imitate that model the next time they want to learn something. Modeling
  17. 17. Librarians are already experts in the key technique of Maker learning! Skills are just another type of information.
  18. 18. Everyone knows their librarian as someone who's there to help, not to grade or judge.
  19. 19. What do we want people to get out of their Maker experiences? Let's start by looking at our own intrinsic motivations, and our desired outputs for this process of "engineering" our Maker Librarian skillset. Just like in the 5 steps of Maker learning we talked about before.
  20. 20. Fixed Growth "Abilities are innate and determined by talent" "Abilities develop with work and practice"
  21. 21. Reflection How's your maker mindset? If you would like to grow some elements of your maker mindset, how might you do that? If you have experienced growth in some of these elements in the past, what is the story of how you did it?
  22. 22. Maker Facilitation Tools Beginning: Priming Middle: The Troubleshooting Process End: Reflection
  23. 23. Beginning: Priming i.e., how to set the stage for the experience so the participants will get the most out of it
  24. 24. Identity is the shortcut to mindset. When 4-year-olds pretended to be Batman, they could work for a longer time.
  25. 25. The Imagination Exercise 1. Have the participants put their heads down on the desk. Tell them that now they are [roboticists, coders, engineers, artists, etc*]. We suggest starting the workshop with a visualization that uses an imaginary identity to engage intrinsic motivation, perseverance, and increase creativity in problem-solving. 2. Remind them of the goal of the project [a robot that makes art; a talking toy, a chase video game] 3. Ask them to imagine how they would make a thing that does that, if they had any materials and any equipment. 4. Have some of the participants share what they imagined. 5. Finally, tell them that today they will be designing a thing that meets the goal just like they imagined, but using the workshop materials. *for this exercise, use an identity that is already familiar, like Batman is. "Maker" is an identity most haven't heard of yet, and will develop as they do more Making.
  26. 26. Q: Should we show them an example? A: Nope. Showing examples or focusing on following instructions can limit the creativity of the designs the participants come up with.
  27. 27. Middle: The Troubleshooting Tools
  28. 28. "I need help!"
  29. 29. Emotional Regulation Frustration = "I'm angry at myself (although I might believe it's at the project or materials, or even you)" "I'm ashamed that I 'failed' and now I'm afraid to try again." Wanting to Give Up = Our mental resources aren't available for problem- solving when our emotions are overloaded. When they ask for help, a participant might be feeling:
  30. 30. Recognize, and give acceptance Carl Rogers, founder of humanistic psychology and Learner-Centered Teaching, defines empathizing with someone as: "You are a confident companion to the person in their inner world." The first step of helping a workshop participant with a problem is to establish yourself in that role by letting them know (this can be nonverbal, see next slide): 1. that you recognize their experience (i.e. including their emotions, not just the problem with the project) 2. that you accept their experience (i.e. "you having a problem does not make me angry, or think less of you ")
  31. 31. Utilizing Emotional Contagion Biologically, we unconsciously adjust to each others' emotions. You can consciously help another person change how they feel, such as becoming calmer, by "broadcasting" emotional signals, such as quieting your tone or breathing more slowly.
  32. 32. It's also an opportunity  to model how to respond to failure on an emotional level: i.e. like it's no big deal.
  33. 33. If you hear "I can't do it" Respond with things like: "That's normal, because this is new for you." "Nobody is able to do new things well until they practice." "The first time is always the hardest. It will get easier from here on." "It was hard for me when I was first learning too."
  34. 34. Don't say: "I can't." This is because the participant is aware that's not factual. So, on a subconscious level, it's received the same as if you were purposefully telling an untruth, and withholding help for no reason. Do say: "Let's work on it together instead." If you hear "Can you do it for me"
  35. 35. First thing to try, always: Encourage the kids to help each other! Opportunity: to reinforce the maker values of information-finding, collaboration, and not reinventing the wheel. And, it's just more efficient.  All you have to do is ask the participant to compare their project to one which is already working, and look for the difference.
  36. 36. The Trouble-Shooting Thought Process Every "rep" engraves this process into the brain, able to be accessed every time a problem is encountered, of any kind. If that's not an option, then walk them through 
  37. 37. Step 1: Observation "Let's look at how this is working." Have the participant try to make it work again while you both look closely. Notice that this is not the same as saying "Show me what's going wrong."  That wording has the effect of communicating, even if unintentionally, that the solution to the problem is in the facilitator's "expertise."  Thus missing the opportunity to reinforce that the first step in problem- solving is looking closely, which you can do on your own without a facilitator.
  38. 38. Step 2: "Decompensation" (breaking things down) There's also a tendency to jump to conclusions that a mistake was made in following the instructions, and that can make it harder to see what is actually in front of you. "Can you describe what you see is happening?" Have the participant describe how the parts are working together to create the output.  As we mentioned before when we talked about "computational thinking," looking at the parts instead of the whole is an important part of this thought process that doesn't always come naturally, even for adults.
  39. 39. "What do you notice about how that's working?" Step 2: "Decompensation" (breaking things down) You will probably start to see what's going wrong with the project before the participant does.  If the participant doesn't seem to be noticing, after a while, point out the specific area, and ask them to describe what they see again.
  40. 40. Step 2: "Decompensation" (breaking things down) If they still don't notice Ask them relevant questions about the information that was covered in the background information at the beginning.  Example: "If the wire isn't touching the battery, is the circuit still a circle? If it isn't a circle, then what happens?
  41. 41. Step 3: First Iteration This includes sequencing steps or configuration of parts, as well as other design/engineering skills. The participant might say: "Can I do [x]?" or "Will [x] work?" "I don't know, let's try it and see!" Hooray! It's your opportunity to say the magic words of Maker learning!
  42. 42. Step 4: Continuing Iterations If it doesn't work Ask the participant to start the troubleshooting process again at "Look closely." Let them know you will be back to check on them, and leave them to continue on their own. Return to go through it with them again if they ask, or if you notice they seem very discouraged or to have stopped trying (rare).
  43. 43. Step 4: Continuing Iterations If it works Awesome!  Opportunity: to reinforce that the participant just made it work, themselves, by: Looking closely Trying things out Persisting Using what they learned from each try to make the next one work better Also an opportunity to reinforce the enjoyment of problem-solving, by helping the participant be proud of themselves!
  44. 44. End: Reflection
  45. 45. What did you learn from making your project? Are you happy with how it turned out? Will you keep working on it at home? What was the most fun part of making your project? What problems did you have while you were working on your project? How did you solve them? What is your project’s name? Tell us its story. What do you want people to notice about your project? What are some ways you could share what you learned with your family or friends? Did you help someone else with their project, or did someone help you (besides the facilitators)? Adapted from "50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think," Suggested Reflection Questions
  46. 46. Reflection = Reinforcement Of the process you used to solve your problems Of your identity, with the Maker mindset traits you demonstrated you possess Of noticing what you enjoy, and that your enjoyment of it isn't trivial, it's your fuel to geek out and learn more!
  47. 47. NOW LET'S GO MAKE STUFF! (and learn more at!) Questions? Feedback? Contact Mya Stark