Built from the ground up in a space that is currently empty, Studio B (Burlington) will promote students to work in an interdisciplinary fashion with all CTE programs. Welders working with artists, 3D modelers working with the aviation students, and Early Childhood Ed students working with programming and robotics students will create opportunities for students to learn across disciplines. The program’s core elements, as highlighted on the Studio B website, will be a part of every student’s personalized learning plan. This new facility and its instructors, students and members will be a catalyst in renovating Burlington Technical Center’s adult education program.
Meet the Makers at Burlington Technical Center
1. How is your vision for a makerspace innovative?
Collaboration is difficult in schools with compartmentalized subjects. This space is something different. This project has already opened new doors between the Tech Center and high school on many levels. It’s a collaborative learning space rather than a space dedicated to a certain curriculum. The following three areas set our initiative apart:
- Artist in Residence Program. Three artists, possibly more after the first year, will be given a small space in our new makerspace and provided a stipend to help with materials and share their work. Connections with established maker communities in Burlington Generator and local colleges and universities will provide proven connections to help fill these artist slots.
- Our ‘Core Skill’ model. This is our underlying ‘curriculum’ where kids will build proficiencies on many important levels. Those core skills are spelled out in the links below.
- Learning Space rather than ‘Classroom’. The Studio will host two classes that will work with all Tech Center programs. The bulk of the work will be centered around projects and production teams. Students will become aware of each other’s expertise and developing skills and be grouped to solve problems. Artists mixing with welders, programming and robotics students mixing it up with early childhood ed student teachers and their youngsters, hardware and networking students working with digital forensics students. There are incredible opportunities here for interdisciplinary learning between the Tech Center and our high school.
This vision fits beautifully with the the district’s vision of proficiency based graduation requirements and Vermont legislation called Act 77 where every student must have a personalized learning plan!
2. What are you most excited to get started on this summer?
It’s a busy summer of construction and renovation at Burlington Technical Center! We have already started moving our Design and Illustration and Media Arts program into the same hallway as the new makerspace. These programs will join an already robust welding shop which is connected and directly accessible to the new makerspace as well. Putting these programs in closer proximity will help open new collaborative doors.
Renovations: we’re painting, nearly, the entire Tech Center! Hallways, stairwells, and a number of classrooms, and putting new carpet in two of them. Like the new makerspace via collaborative vision, we’re giving this old place a facelift!
Since the notification of our award, we have shored up plans with district maintenance services and contractors to prepare the new makerspace. It’s a busy summer for our maintenance folks, and they’ll be working on and be combining services with contractors to clean the new makerspace (power wash), repair doors, add a window, seal the floor (shop style), and paint.
Our hiring process is taking shape, and the District Office will be casting those lines for new hires soon. We’ll start unpacking the tremendous gear we’ve started to receive from the in-kind awards in another classroom and begin to map training and demonstrations for the entire BTC faculty. We’ve started planning a community night to celebrate the new space, the grant award, and to engage our students and community in more discussions on evolving the space!
3. Can you describe the people who have been involved in your build out?
Our primary design crew continues to map out ideas for the building the space. We’ll be including students once again when they return later in August. We are expanding our vision for the development of this space with an organization called VITA-Learn (VL). VL is a non-profit that helps organize professional development for teachers via conferences and regional workshops throughout the State of Vermont. The thought is to include many other schools in the refinement of our space and to learn from the incredible in-kind sponsors.
4. What has been the most challenging part of the summer build out thus far?
We’ve set an ambitious schedule to relocate two Tech Center programs, Design and Illustration and Media Arts, to closer proximity to the lab. Those moves and the related construction have taken up much of our maintenance staff’s resources and time. We’re waiting for a vendor we’ve chosen to become available to take on washing and refinishing the shop floor. Then the contractors to paint the room and install electrical / wiring upgrades will begin! We’ve used the time wisely and have made many more contacts to get consumable supplies and to connect with our potential Artists in Residence!
5. Have you made adjustments to your original plan since starting your build out? If so, can you describe how you have changed your plan and what sparked the change?
Thus far we’ve had very little changes to our original design. One that has occurred is to increase our project storage space. We’ve visited some other maker labs and have listened and learned from their challenges. As our development work with surrounding schools takes place and we dig into workflow discussions with in-kind sponsors we’re imagining our vision will take new shapes.