CNN: How does it change the way students are learning?
Shea: It's the kids who came in with no experience, no background, no skills who get that sense of accomplishment. Without fail, nothing works the first time. It's something we don't get enough opportunity to do. In most classes, we have to move on, you either get it or you don't. Failure is a judgment rather than part of the process. In math, kids come in convinced, or someone has convinced them, they can't do something. We don't take the time to go back and make that failure a reflective process.
"You failed? That's great, what did you learn?"After you get those little moments of success, "That's great - remember how bad you felt yesterday, after three days of putting the thing together, flipping the switch and it didn't work? It's not over."
That's more like real life, rather than school.
CNN: What advice would you give to other schools and teachers that want to start their own maker spaces?
Shea: Start small. Start with an after-school thing. Get this stuff into the mainstream of the school. "We've got this stuff, what do you need?" As an assignment, (the students) have got to make something for a teacher's room. The whole idea is to open eyeballs and start to think creatively.
We've gotten an amazing amount of materials and support from the community. We've had a number of community builders coming in, ex-teachers, tinkerers who are moving, realizing they're not going to get into their electronics stuff. You've got to just dive in, and you've got to know, it's like a tiger by the tail, but it's a great tiger.