21st Century Teaching & Learning in a Canadian 'Maker Education' Library Learning Commons

MakerEd in the LLC

Myself and my colleagues are always striving to create and support collaborative, creative, flexible inquiry-based 'Peel21st MakerEd' library learning commons rooted in the 'Maker-Mindset'. These 'MakerSpaces' are adaptable to the environment in which they are built, and deliver programming that features a combination of guided inquiry, design thinking & constructionism in terms of the pedagogical approach used when collaborating with classroom teachers. It is hoped that these spaces will help students innovate and discover new ideas while asking deep questions, as well as help transform traditional educational practices.

Green graphic credit to 'OLA T4L Doc'. Orange graphic credit to Mr.Schuermann.

This is the MakerEd Inquiry Model that we developed to help students understand that questions are more important than the answers. The model helps them understand the cyclical nature of discovering new ideas. Discoveries often lead to new questions, and these questions can be the result of successes or failures. Built around the 'O.L.A. T4L - Guided Inquiry Model', it helps all students to determine their entry point to the inquiry process quickly and in simple language. It has proven quite effective with primary, junior and intermediate grades.

Current LLC MakerSpace

Our dedicated 'MakerLab' in the Aylesbury Public School library learning commons supports our school wide 'Maker-Mindset', and encourages students to be producers rather than simply consumers in this digital age. It allows for fluid movement between resources when using the 'MakerEd Inquiry Model' or when a 'Maker Spark' ignites. 'Maker Stations' include;

  • LittleBits ‘Pro Library’ [magnetic prototyping modules, incorporate Makey-Makey and Arduino components, on a mobile wall for flexibility]
  • 3D Modelling/Printing [XYZ Juniors with PLA, using Autodesk’s 'Project Ignite/TinkerCad' software, Origami]
  • Textiles [Sewing machines, knitting/crochet equipment, wearable Origami, LilyPad Arduino components with conductive thread, LEDs, various fasteners, Cobbler Iron Shoe Casts, Leatherwork]
  • Virtual Reality [Google Cardboard headsets, CoSpaces software to build environments, LEAP Motion Controller for a kinetic interface]
  • CODE [Google’s CS First Scratch modules, BBC MicroBit, Raspberry PI, Ardunio, Scratch Junior and CODE.org's VPL for primary students]
  • Robots [Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits, Ozobot Bit, Sphero SPRK 2 with SparkLab software, FP Code-A-Pillars for very young students to provide a tactile coding interface]
  • Chroma Key Studio [Green Screen, DSLR camera with directional mic, 3 point lighting kit, green sheets and clothing for creative filming, Apple Tech for editing]
  • Rube Goldberg Wall [Peg board with variety of hooks and pegs, good supply of pulleys/heavy string/cardboard]
  • LEGO wall [Large based plates fixed and spaced on a mobile wall, creative brainstorming with math connections, bit.ly/SCH-LEGOwall]
  • D&T [Cutting/Sawing/Drilling tools, wood and other building materials, glue guns, measurement tools, clamps/vices, nails and hammers, miter boxes]
  • Minecraft [PE or PC based, build and run a virtual LLC with different areas based on subjects to construct and display co-created environments]
  • MasterMaker Badges [A display of students who act as instructional contributors or coaches for classes within our school. Students that have been awarded badges have displayed proficiency with a Maker skill, such as the stations listed above]

The space features signage that offers consistency and purpose. Signs are filled with maker prompts, safety information, exemplars and 'Growth Mindset' quotes. If not fully outlined on a sign, internet links are offered via QR code.

Our LLC utilizes a 2:1 class set of iPad Minis and MS laptops. We have a smaller inventory of iPods [supports VR], RaspberryPis [Coding, breadboard] and miniMACs [supports video editing, general login collaboration machines].

Past MakerSpaces

MakerEd Mobile Carts. These carts are periodically created to assist a grade team who has embraced the 'Maker-Mindset' as part of their daily professional practice and can be moved between classrooms. The portable work-site trunk is filled with LEGO, yarn, wood, origami paper, Sphero robots, DC motors, safety goggles and a variety of other maker supplies for student use. The lid is covered with 'QR coded maker prompts' for students to access via tablets. When first opening the trunk, teacher's remove the top tray which is filled with more sophisticated tools and maker-inspired KidLit titles [Computer Sciences books, Easy Fiction picture books].

Champlain Trail Public School MakerEd LLC. It was created and was operational in late 2014. The journey is documented in the following digital story...bit.ly/SCH-LLC.

Professional Practice

We consistently seek out opportunities to collaborate on planning and delivering innovative units that utilize a combination of traditional and state-of-the-art LLC resources. Beyond these day-to-day operations, our LLC support teams that I have founded/co-founded, three of which are outlined below;


A girls equity and empowerment team that focuses on creative use of innovative and traditional technologies.

This group of Grade 6/7/8 students work primarily, but not exclusively with LittleBits, robots, LilyPad e-Textiles, Scratch coding, and 3D printing/modelling. Google's MadeWithCode initiative guides much of their adventures. The team competes in SkillsCanada and Technovation challenges.


The Caped Crusaders

A mixed gender team working with visual literacy titles and digital media for more then 8 years.

This group of grade 4/5/6 students work with a variety of graphic novel titles to create podcasts, Minecraft worlds, mini-comics, digital GN reviews and 'Chroma Key' video productions. In addition, the students run a large-scale, EPIC annual literacy event called the -=Kryptonite Kup=-.



A mixed gender team of robot makers from grade 5 and grade 6.

This STEM group builds and programs primarily, but not exclusively with the Lego Mindstorms NXT and EV3 systems. The team competes in World Robotic Olympiad, SkillsCanada, CETApeel and First Lego League challenges. In 2016, our ECHO squad placed 3rd at Canadian Nationals in Montreal for the WRO which was an amazing accomplishment.


Follow our latest adventures on Twitter - www.twitter.com/MrSchuermann

Great spots on social media include...

@PeelSchools @AylesburyPDSB @HeForShe @MadeWithCode @LegoFoundation @LittleBits @GoldieBlox @Scratch @GoogleForEdu

#Peel21st #MakerEd #Papert #FutureReady #STEAM #GrowthMindset #KidLit #EdTech