After 29 years teaching in Philly public schools, Emily Adeshigbin landed this year at the Thomas Mifflin School thinking about the future.
The digital literacy educator at the East Falls school teaches computer science to students K–8. Her first thought on the new job? Replicating her experience at C.W. Henry School in Mount Airy: raise some money and warm kids up to tech by tinkering with a 3D printer.
“About two years ago, one of the neighbors said he had a 3D printer at home and he wanted to come and share with the kids,” said Adeshigbin.
(That neighbor was Jan Deruiter, executive director of Philadelphia Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit that installs internet-ready computers in classrooms.)
A fundraising campaign led to that school getting a new machine and incorporating it into the classroom. Now, Adeshigbin is looking to get the same vibe happening at Mifflin through a GoFundMe campaign. First up: one printer to establish the makerspace, and then adding printers to each classroom as funding allows.
“It develops the curiosity they already have: how it works and how to solve problems with it,” said Adeshigbin. “It’s another way of thinking about things.”
In the long run, the educator said the aim of the makerspace is to encourage the 300 kids at Mifflin to become creators.
Daniel and Lynsey Larson, whose daughter attends second grade at Mifflin, were the first to back the campaign. Daniel, a data scientist and podcaster, said a makerspace at the school creates an opportunity for students to gather, experiment, explore and tinker.
“Regular expertly guided exposure to these tools and technology is simply not something we can provide at home,” said Daniel Larson. “We can’t wait to hear about all of the exciting adventures sure to happen in the Mifflin Makerspace.”-30-
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