Ann Smart is an educational technology consultant for Jackson County Intermediate School District (ISD) in Jackson County, Michigan. She is passionate about MakerSpace and STEM education.
Ann Smart originally got a degree in K-12 Physical Education and Health with a minor in Elementary Education. She got her first job in Washington as a high school reading teacher. She taught there for six years before moving back to Michigan. She got a job as a high school reading teacher. About half way through the school year she got an offer to be an instructional coach for English and Social Studies teachers. She was an instructional coach for five years.
Where She Is Now
Ann is now working for Jackson County Intermediate School District in Jackson, Michigan as an Educational Technology Consultant. She has been doing this job for a year and half. She spends most of her time in classrooms either with students or teachers. She does drop-ins at schools in which she will pull teachers out of the classroom (when a sub is available) and does coaching on educational technology. If no sub is available, then she pushes into the classroom and models how to do educational technology lessons. When she is not working with students or teachers, Ann spends her time helping schools to troubleshoot their equipment, dropping off check out materials, or planning professional developments.
MakerSpace is all about giving kids random junk, things like cardboard and old appliances, and letting the students have time to play and explore the materials. Students can build and manipulate with no objectives involved. MakerSpaces can be tech or low-tech. Ann says, “I am a strong believer that MakerSpace should not be tied into the curriculum.” She goes on to say, “I am a true believer that a MakerSpace is just a time for kids to create, play, investigate, tinker, and explore their passions.”
Breakout EDU is a lock box with a series of locks. The lock boxes can be purchased at Breakout EDU’s website or lock boxes can be created by going to a local hardware store. Once a lock box has been purchased, games are available for free on the Breakout EDU website. The games must be printed off and the locks set according to the game directions. The game is placed in the room with the participants and they must figure out the game with little to no direction. This is a great team building activity, but the locks can be difficult when they get jammed or when they accidently get set with the wrong combination. “The really cool thing that I am seeing now,with some of the teachers I’m in the classroom with,” Ann says, “are their kids are starting to develop games for their curriculum.” Ann details using the Breakout EDU kits in a podcast by PrincipalPLN.For more information visit Ann’s website.
Written by: Ashley Wilson April, 2017