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    #MakeItReal 2018 Contest Grand Prize Winners!

    Published on - January 19, 2018 by Tricia Taggart

    Teachers & Parents, Inspiration

    What does #MakeItReal mean to you? To Mary Frank, an art teacher at Northern Lehigh Middle School in Slatington, Pennsylvania, it means that her colleagues and students might “transform from traditional teachers and learners into full-fledged makers, able to think their way out of the box and use their skills to unlock any boxes they encounter.”

    We are thrilled to announce that Mary is one of the winners of our very first #MakeItReal contest, awarding free prizes for schools courtesy of Autodesk’s maker space program.

    In August, we spread the news that we were giving away over $25K in prizes including Chromebooks, Dremel 3D printers, Full Spectrum Laser Cutters, Oculus Rift VR headsets, Arduino kits, and more to two schools hoping to amp up or kickstart a makerspace at their school.

    The contest ended last month, and the number of incredible entries we received made it so hard to choose, we invented a new category of winners! All this week we have been sharing the stories of our Honorable Mention winners through blog posts and our social media channels.

    And today we get to learn about our inspiring Grand Prize winners:

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    In a field of impressive contenders, each of the Grand Prize winners imaginatively described what they could create with access to the latest tools. The students at BINcA even documented their process for making their video entry through this awesome film.

    Please check out the above videos from the schools that won as well as excepts from their written contest entries, below.

    To all those who entered, thank you for being your school's MVP – and stay tuned to hear about other opportunities we have planned for 2018 to help educators and students imagine, design, and make a better world!

    Excerpts from our Grand Prize winners' written contest entries:

    Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA)  

    Students will benefit from having a makerspace in school because our school does not have enough resources to provide students with the tools to perform hands on jobs. Our school is a school for immigrants, all of whom have to learn English. Most of their day is spent learning academic subjects like English, Math, History and Science.

    Despite the focus on academic work, many of our students will want to pursue a career that involves building and creating things, but they never have a chance to practice. A makerspace could provide students in our a school a chance to practice the creative process that comes with building something with your own hands.

    One project we can think of that we could use a makerspace for is to redesign our computer science classroom. Our goal in this project is to turn our classroom into a 21st century space that shows off how we think the future of collaboration should be. We have already planned out different aspects of the new space and what it should look like. We planned out creative use of our space, including how to arrange the computers, where we should place whiteboards, what should a table look like, how should we light the room and even more. We have designed new tables that have LCD screens built in, tables that can raise and lower so students can work while standing and tables that can rotate to allow easier collaboration. We are trying to build these things ourselves with our own materials and tools. We have to cut lots of different materials and shape them together into our designs, and our current set of tools for cutting is very limited. We need to cut plexiglass and wood to fix different things to the insides of our tables.

    [A makerspace] will spark a new revolution of curiosity and ideas in the minds of all the students. The makerspace will also help the teachers connect with students in many ways. For example, they could find the inner talents of students by giving them a free access to the tools that they never had.

    Northern Lehigh Middle School

    [A makerspace] would literally give students the tools to build their future... In traditional learning, students rarely have the opportunity to observe how mistakes and imperfections lead to new ideas. Maker spaces show students that perseverance is powerful, and effort to succeed is just as valuable as being able to get it right the first time. This will force our community to adapt culturally, changing the way we as a whole view the process of learning.

    Maker spaces encourage lifelong learning for staff and students alike. They foster collaboration, positive mindset, and endurance… Rather than simply replicating the journey of a Mars Rover, our students could use SparkFun tools to design vehicles and stretch their imaginations to travel through time and space. The vehicles they design would need to meet specific requirements in order to achieve the goals of their missions: to explore new terrain, to collect usable data, and to transport information. For the purpose of the Science class, this would reinforce their understanding of space exploration. However, through the magic of [the] maker mentality, these same vehicles could transport them to Egypt and, with the assistance of Virtual Reality, allow them to experience the architecture in more immersive ways. Viewing these ancient artifacts would also reinforce the concepts introduced in the Reading class, where students will be challenged to explore symbolism and representation… Students could not only recreate ancient artifacts from the data collected by their Rovers and Virtual Reality field trips, they could also utilize that stronger foundational knowledge to design and create tangible monuments to their own epic adventures through literature.

    We want our students to begin to view every room in our building as a maker space, so they can begin to view every challenge in life as something waiting to be solved through a process of trial and error, collaboration and ingenuity, and persistence to succeed.
    Follow us to get the latest updates on the #MakeItReal Contest and to discover new ways to bring your ideas to life and inspire the maker in everyone.