Investing in Making

Making meaningful connections to learning

Mario Piombo, Director, Innovation
Published on August 24, 2016

At NapaLearns we are committed to piloting and evaluating technology-enabled innovations in teaching and learning and bringing successful tools and strategies to scale in Napa County schools. One of these innovations is the ever-growing Maker Movement and the idea of teaching our students how to use the engineering design process and real world challenges to spark discovery and activate engaging, authentic learning experiences. We are proud to announce that we have sponsored four makerspaces in schools across Napa County. Teachers from these Valley Oak High, Philips Elementary, New Tech High and Palisades High were given $2,500 in funding to build makerspaces in their classrooms and to complete the Sonoma State University’s Maker Certificate Program.

While our teachers have been hard at work developing their spaces this past school year, we are already seeing a huge impact on student engagement. We are even beginning to see students engineer solutions that ultimately have an impact on their daily lives and social-emotional well-being.

“Maker Education emphasizes student-centered, first hand investigative experiences, often termed ‘learning through the hands.’ It promotes collaborative practices, reignites students’ natural impulse to problem-solve, and offers the potential to make instruction both engaging and culturally relevant. Learning through Making dissolves the boundaries between the arts, humanities, engineering, and science.”— Angelene Warnock, New Technology High School

We believe engaging our increasingly active maker teachers and connecting them with community partners will allow us to incubate and sustain a countywide maker movement here in Napa. We hope to leverage our community partners to bring real world, inquiry-based learning opportunities to our students.

NapaLearns launches Digital Innovator Program

For the 2016–2017 school year NapaLearns will focus efforts on providing educators with training through the newly announced Digital Innovator Program, a free after-school teacher training program. We will also provide five school teams with the opportunity to bring making to multiple classrooms at their school sites through our Maker Educator grant. Maker Educator grant award winners will be provided with a mobile Maker Cart and additional training and support from the NapaLearns team.

Click here to learn more about the NapaLearns 2016–2017 Maker Educator Grant.