This week, the Executive Director and the Education Technology Coordinator from the Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF) visited Crossroads along with one of their board members. Three of our students led them on a tour and then they sat down with Heather, Mark, and me. ITEF’s visit is exciting because it means we’ve moved forward in their process for awarding grants to schools with innovative ideas for positively impacting student learning. In this instance, the core of the grant is to create a Makerspace at Crossroads.
Several teachers worked on this: Mark, Tom, Lori, Christa, Martha, Mike, and Mohamad, to name a few. These teachers worked carefully to write a technology grant that seeks to open up possibilities for our students while supporting excellence in teaching and learning. What is most impressive to me, and what I believe our visitors found impressive as well, is that this technology grant is not written for technology’s sake. Because we are smart and good at Crossroads, the grant makes plain that the habit of empathy is part of the process of design thinking. Designers and makers must empathize with their audiences. Smart and good designers and makers engage in excellent, ethical, and engaging work in ways that are both entrepreneurial and socially responsible. Our grant reinforces that this “ethical dimension is crucial to making this makerspace OUR makerspace.”
Whether we receive this grant or not, we certainly learned a lot in the process. Next year’s class Introduction to Engineering Design is one of the results of the research for this grant. We began establishing relationships with Cortex Innovation Community (CIC) and T-REX that will be to the benefit of our teachers and students as well. Of course, I remain hopeful that our visitors agree that we deserve this opportunity and these funds to create a makerspace at Crossroads. I know that we will do good work as a result of receiving it.
With great expectations,