IDEAStudio

Beaches Episcopal School has embraced the Maker Movement and offers students the opportunity to be part of the BES IDEAStudio! This learning space cultivates curiosity, inspires wonder, encourages playfulness, and celebrates unique solutions through hands-on activities and problem solving. Read the Frequently Asked Questions section below for answers to common questions about the IDEAStudio.

Frequently Asked Questions

1The Maker movement is beginning to emerge on the educational scene. What, in essence, is the Maker movement?
The Maker movement is the new Industrial Revolution, recognizing we are all makers. Beaches Episcopal School has reimagined traditional classrooms into spaces that cultivate curiosity, inspire wonder, encourage playfulness, and celebrate unique solutions.
To this end, we are transitioning learning areas into IDEAStudios. IDEA is an acronym for Imagine Designing Everything and Anything, but could just as easily be Invent, Innovate, Develop, Define, Experiment, Engineer, etc. We believe all children have inherent abilities. Beaches Episcopal School fosters the development of these abilities in our students.
2Why is Beaches Episcopal School integrating the Maker movement, and how will it help students learn?
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced it is adding a section to its admissions application for students to write about what they have made. Making demonstrates not only technical knowledge and creativity but also habits such as perseverance and resourcefulness. Engineering and art are interrelated; computer programming is mandatory for biologists, musicians, and historians. We can best serve our children by introducing them to the powerful ideas that will shape the rest of their lives.
Beaches Episcopal School’s integration of the Maker movement only improves our commitment to academic excellence. Our goal is to enhance existing academic and enrichment programs. IDEAStudios will be collaborative spaces where informal combinations of science, technology, mathematics, art, engineering, programming, and woodworking come together through hands-on experiences.
3This type of learning is sometimes referred to as experiential learning. What does that mean, and what is Beaches Episcopal School’s vision in embracing this type of “learning by making” philosophy?
The Maker philosophy invites curiosity, inspires wonder, encourages playfulness, celebrates unique solutions, and promotes growth through both success and failure. In fact, we encourage what most of society calls “failure,” because in reality, it is simply the first, second, or third step toward success. We all have basic human impulses to make and create. Beaches Episcopal School recognizes knowledge is a consequence of experience and authentic problem solving. Hands-on and creative learning touches all types of learners whether they are visual, auditory, or tactile.
Consider the building of a birdhouse. Students use math and science to design, measure, and cut angles. Aesthetics are incorporated through art. Observations and results are communicated in writing. Through small group collaboration, students share solutions.
4How is Beaches Episcopal School collaborating to make this change possible?
This is a school-wide initiative. The first step was the planning. We spent the 2014-2015 school year researching and learning about the Maker movement by attending conferences, participating in webinars, and MOOC-Eds (Massive Open Online Courses for Educators). We have taken the information gathered and put it into action! Betsy Bailey, Melissa Devers, and Ansley Doughty are spending the summer redesigning the computer lab in McCormick Hall. We created a BES IDEAStudios Pinterest page, which every teacher is using to collect ideas. The excitement is contagious!
5What kind of tools and resources are you planning for the IDEAStudios?
We already have iMac computers, Lego robotics, Makeblock robotics, Makeblock Inventor Kits, Little Bits, Make It Electronic Kits, Arduino, sewing machines, soldering, hand tools and power tools. Our goals include obtaining a 3D printer and a laser cutter.
6Is there a curriculum?
Beaches Episcopal School is on the leading edge of this movement. While there is no written curriculum, a multitude of excellent resources exist. Our curriculum will be developed through our own experiences in success and failure. Teachers will work together to write curriculum that integrates all the disciplines.
Beaches Episcopal School is an innovator by being one of the first Maker schools on the First Coast. The sky is the limit as to what our students can imagine, design, and engineer. As a school dedicated to strong academics and enrichments, we want to be a conduit whereby students reach their God-given potential in an atmosphere of trust and freedom. Join us as we embark on this journey of knowledge and discovery together.