It has been such a journey this past year! We started with an empty white walled room and transformed it into a space jam packed with excited community members who are exploring, making, creating, thinking, playing, sharing, learning, unlearning, hacking, discussing, and so much more. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, on October 3, 2019, we hosted the grand opening of the Lindsay Makerspace.
“The Lindsay Makerspace serves as a testament to the Pinnguaq lifecycle, providing education, resources, mentorship and employment for people in the Kawartha Lakes. It is an incubator for the expansion of our programs across rural and remote communities all around Canada with a focus on community-led programming that adapts to make the strongest impact. During COVID when the space has not been a physical location, it has remained an important community within a community, connecting like-minded S.T.E.A.M learners and educators. I’m very proud of the Lindsay Makerspace team, both past and present who have put so much of themselves into ensuring the space remains true to its mission.“Ryan Oliver, Executive Director
The Lindsay Makerspace’s Programming Success
We started off strong by delivering two sessions of 9 week-long courses that were developed around design thinking and constructivist structure, focused on teaching STEAM-based and digital skills. We focused on digital literacy topics such as 3D modeling with Blender, an introduction to coding with Scratch through animation and game creation, 2D art using Krita and Graphics Gale, an introduction to electronics using soldering, and much more.
We also introduced our TechXploration sessions at the Lindsay Makerspace where every Wednesday and Saturday, we hosted a free drop-in workshop. The space was transformed into an exploration station that encompassed anything from game theory with toothpicks, to sewing with electrical circuits and beading, to coding and programming robots, and everything you can imagine in between! STEAM was integrated into different projects that promoted learning of the concepts through free explorative play and open-ended activities and projects that allowed for creative expression. Now we welcome a community of learners that visit each week and have really been able to make the space their own and create!
“We’ve fostered such an amazing makerspace community here in Lindsay where the kids are so excited to come and explore and learn. It has been a wonderful experience to help develop the makerspace and allow it to grow and change with the community that participates.“Becky Wright, Lindsay Makerspace Manager & Lead Facilitator
One of our favourite initiatives that we ran out of the Lindsay Makerspace was our Strike Day Workshops – during the teacher strikes in the Kawartha Lakes, we ran full-day programming for our makerspace community and donated all funds to our local Teacher Strike Fund. Those days, along with P.A. days were full of design thinking maker challenges, coding, digital art creations, animation, and robotics.
In efforts to cater to our community, the Lindsay Makerspace team has made a diligent effort in connecting with local community groups and businesses to co-develop programming. A couple of these programs were very successful and very much enjoyed by our makerspace participants. Pinnguaq’s collaboration with BTW Electronics was such a wonderful experience; they provided us with lessons in electronics to help us develop our Introduction to Electronics course, became our electrical materials provider, and assisted in developing and providing materials for maker kits. Another great partnership we had was with Make Stuff Move, a local company encouraging STEM/STEAM education through the use of tools and everyday materials to learn and develop hands-on skills in building and being creative while solving problems. Our two organizations worked together to co-host a Make Things Move event at the Lindsay Makerspace where the participants got to make their own sock puppet robots with servo motors provided by Servo Socks.
Transitioning Through the Pandemic
One of the biggest challenges that the Lindsay Makerspace encountered this year was transitioning to a virtual learning environment when the pandemic hit- as a lot of our programs were heavily centred around collaboration, interactivity, and hands-on making with a variety of tools and materials. Fortunately, we were able to pivot online quickly with our Pinnguaq At Home curriculum, while still fostering our space’s energy through our programming thanks to the amazing makerspace staff and the wonderful makerspace community that we had cultivated up to that point. In response to the Pandemic we delivered 7, week-long camps virtually that explored a variety of digital and STEAM-based topics that were centred around getting our makerspace activities into the homes of our makerspace community. We put together kits that included all of the materials and technology needed to complete the week’s activities and delivered them safely to the homes of our participants. Some of the camps delivered were Crafting and Coding with Circuits, Movie Magic Stop Motion Animation, and Alternate Reality Filter Camp. We were able to engage students throughout this while they were stuck at home and it became a valuable experience to learn how to do hands-on makerspace projects from a distance.
“The virtual summer camp experience at Pinnguaq has been absolutely phenomenal. The time taken to organize the kits according to each day that was provided did not go unnoticed, it made the virtual experience come to life. Technology activities in a group social setting has been such a success with our son Logan. The camp is engaging and creative, making it something for him to look forward to. He is excited to open the bag for the day and get ready for camp, eager to interact with his peers and is intrigued by what the leaders have in store for the day. He has a happy disposition after participating in the camp. This has been such a positive experience for Logan, and our family as a whole. We look forward to participating in future events, camps and programs at Pinnguaq. Thank you for providing a safe and fun space for Logan to socially interact with others.“M. Bowles, Parent Testimonial
We are beyond grateful for the support from the community and our funders. A special thanks to Kawartha Lakes Community Futures Development Corporation, CanCode (Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development) and most recently, The Kawartha Conservation Water Fund for their support and resources. Overall, this experience has been so beautifully transformative in the creation of the space, the growth in the community and the expansion of our programming over the last year- and the makerspace team has loved every minute of it!