From Library to Learning Commons & Makerspace: A transformation to Enhance Teaching & Learning
The Julien Arts & Innovation Center at Gulf Stream School offers state-of-the-art technology in a multi-functional space where teachers promote literacy, foster collaborative learning, and encourage innovative critical thinking.
What is the JAIC/Makerspace?
The JAIC is a modern Learning Commons and Makerspace. It serves a dual role, encouraging research and collaboration, as well as innovation and creativity. It lies in the heart of the Gulf Stream School campus, where the best children’s and young adult literature is collected and shared, where presentations are held, where ideas and perspectives are discussed, and where relevant technologies are explored. The JAIC also functions as a meeting place for parents and other constituents and a space to host celebrations and traditional gatherings throughout the year.
What happens in the Learning Commons?
The Learning Commons will have enough space and be capable of fostering individual, small group, and large group discussion and activities. Employing these three teaching strategies within one space, and even simultaneously, will facilitate different levels of interaction and knowledge exchange. Active lessons incorporating physical movement, inquiry-based lessons requiring research tools, and cooperative lessons using small groups are all examples of how the space will be used.
A ceiling-recessed screen, modern audio/visual presentation tools, and easy access to laptops, tablets, and other technology will further enhance learning opportunities.
What happens in the Makerspace?
While the possibilities for the Makerspace are endless, three distinct categories for immediate exploration include:
1. Open Making – student directed, tinker, take-apart, design, and create
2. Project-Based – teacher directed challenges aimed at critical thinking and problem solving
3. Curriculum Embedded – teacher directed, maker-enhanced, components of current lessons
Zones within the Makerspace may include Build (LEGO, etc.); Create (3D printing, cardboard, possible sticks, etc.); Tinker (“little bits,” tools, used electronics); Robotics (We do, LEGO, Ozobot, Root, Sphero, etc.); and Textile (fabric, sewing machine, etc.).
The JAIC provides the most enriching literature available to GSS students. Our school community engages in conversations about literature and a wide variety of relevant topics, in a supervised, age-appropriate manner that encourages young learners to develop their thoughts and voices. Using proven research, GSS’s Makerspace aims to provide learners exposure to and experience with new and evolving technologies, and the educational practices that accompany them. GSS provides access to the JAIC before and after school, during breaks, and explores opportunities for access by the larger community.