‘Making’ education happen in the 21st Century

April 30, 2015

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Legos, Lincoln Logs and plastic gears. These may look like toys, but in fact, these are building blocks for a 21st Century learning environment.

The new Maker’s Lab, called the Creator’s Space, at Concordia Lutheran High School is changing the face of education.

This dedicated space in the school’s Instructional Media Center features various work stations to provide students with tactile means for creativity, and essentially, a new way to approach their classwork.

“We added the Creator’s Space in response to the growing ‘maker movement,’” said Joshua Sommermeyer, assistant principal for curriculum and technology, who has overseen the creation of the space. “The maker movement basically strives to put real world tools in the hands of those that would normally not have access to them.”

The Creator’s Space, which has been in development for the past year, was made possible through a grant, donor gift and endowed funds through the Concordia Education Foundation. It features two 3D printers, music and CAD software, a variety of DeWalt tools, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, electronics, and various materials, such as cardboard and Styrofoam, for constructing projects.

“These items provide an easy entry point into the world of ‘Making,’” Sommermeyer said. “The space allows individuals to make or unmake items in order to learn how they work as well as create new items, model specific ideas or simply learn with their hands.”

While the space is still receiving a few finishing touches, students and faculty have already begun using the items to improve the learning experience.

Phil Brackmann, a CLHS math teacher, has been using the 3D printer to help his students better understand volume.

“It allows us to create visuals,” he said. “The next step is letting them do their own designs.”
One student said that he uses the space as a time to free his mind during the day.

“Instead of being on your iPad playing games, you can be productive,” said junior Tariq Jackson as he sifted through the giant box of Legos. “No matter how old you get, you can still have fun with the little things from your childhood.”

The Creator’s Space does not operate as a classroom, but acts as a resource to aid in the education process just as a library provides information.

“In Genesis 1:26a, we read: Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ God created us to be like him, and God starts in Genesis 1:1 by ‘creating’ or for lack of a better word ‘making,’” Sommermeyer said. “What better way is there to name our space than after the words He used to describe that act.”

Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.clhscadets.com.