Workshop for K-12 Maker Educators

Creating, Maintaining, and Enjoying Successful Makerspaces

Makerspaces are workshops with an emphasis on creativitiy, collaboration, and community in which students can learn, experiment with new tools, develop skills and become innovators and designers. K-12 schools that integrate maker tools, activities, and mindset can find significant benefits in terms of student engagement, empowerment, and content learning as well as 21st century skills.

Workshops for makerspace leaders cover setting up, planning, or in the early stages of running a school makerspace. It is a hands-on experience where educators will learn skills and explore resources that will help them create or refine their school makerspace.  Participants will leave with confidence, skills, resources, and ideas to start successful makerspaces in their communities. They will see some of the many possible benefits of makerspaces, and develop awareness of the potential pitfalls.

No experience is required. 

Workshops are held in the historic MIT Edgerton Center Student Project Lab (4-409) in Strobe Alley, a scene of experiential learning activities for decades. The Lab has been recently renovated with new digital fabrication tools and an enhanced layout and to better serve as a makerspace for a variety of communities.  

Who Should Attend

Leaders setting up, planning, or in the early stages of running a school or youth community makerspace. 

What You Will Learn

During the 2-day workshop, participants will practice maker technologies and explore resources related to the design and operation of a makerspace/workshop

Technical Training

Using hands-on projects, participants will get introductory training in:

  • A variety of hand-held and benchtop (both manual and powered) tools for cutting and forming
  • A variety of materials and fastening methods
  • 2D modelling software appropriate for laser cutters and vinyl cutters
  • 3D modelling software as appropriate for 3D printers
  • Digital fabrication tools (3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters)
  • Electronics components, tools, and basic circuit applications
  • Computer programming platforms for hardware-based applications such as Arduino, and Scratch


Logistics training:

Participants will be explore resources and be involved in discussions regarding:

  • Design and layout of a space
  • Tools, materials, and facilities appropriate for a makerspace
  • Operations issues including student and teacher training including, staffing and operating a safe and welcoming makerspace;
  • Activities planning including makerfaires engagement and showcase events.

About the MIT Edgerton Center

Established in 1992, the MIT Edgerton Center continues the hands-on legacy of Harold “Doc” Edgerton by giving students opportunities to learn by doing. Programs include courses in engineering and high-speed photography for MIT students and professionals, the international-development program D-Lab, student-run clubs and teams, student machine shops, and a year-round K-12 science and engineering outreach program, including professional-development teacher workshops and curriculum materials. Read more about our K-12 programs here.

Workshop Staff

The workshop is developed and led by Diane Brancazio, with invaluable assistance from Ed Moriarty and a team of experts at the MIT Edgerton Center.

Diane Brancazio: Lead Maker Educator

Diane is passionate about the potential of Makerspaces to improve education.  She works intensively to support teachers integrating maker into their regular curriculum and in using makerspaces to engage and empower students.

Her formal technical training includes a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.  Working as a product design consultant at several engineering companies, she developed skills in creative problem solving, project management, and fabrication. Diane went into education as a career after serving as an instructor for summer programs at the Edgerton Center. She has now returned with 15 years of experience in teaching technology and engineering design, computer science, and general science in public middle and high-school classrooms.

Along with Ed Moriarty, Diane also teaches a popular freshman advising seminar entitled “Engineering, Art, and Science."

Ed Moriarty: Instructor

Ed has been a designer and leader of engaging, hands-on science and engineering programs in sites ranging from the MIT Student Project Lab, through a selective Boston high school and a small village in the Alaskan bush, to a large regional event in Beijing, China.  Common to all these experiences is Ed’s ability to connect with people and inspire them to question, learn, and do. Ed has been a driver in the maker movement since long before it was coined "maker."

For the past five years he has been running the month-long Engineering Design Workshop at the MIT Edgerton Center.  Ed has also developed an informal non-program called “The Saturday Thing” in which students have a rich opportunity for unstructured play in a constructive community environment.

Ed holds a BS in Mechanical engineering and over 30 years of experience at MIT.  For the past 17 years he has been an instructor with the MIT Edgerton Center, teaching seminars and labs and mentoring many of the MIT student clubs and teams that take part in local, national, and international engineering design endeavors.  

Along with Diane Brancazio, Ed also teaches a popular freshman advising seminar entitled, “Engineering, Art, and Science”. 

Sarah Leadbeater

Sarah graduated from Syracuse University in 2001 with a degree in industrial design and worked professionally as both an industrial designer and a web designer for a few years prior to becoming a teacher.  

For the last twelve years she has been a member of the technology and engineering faculty at Newburyport High School in Newburyport MA where she teaches a range of subjects including robotics, web design, industrial design, CAD, and computer programming.

Her engineering students participate in a number of extracurricular activities including the Sailbot Robotics Competition which asks students to design and build an autonomous sailing boat, and the Real World Design Challenge, a yearly aeronautical engineering competition that asks students to use CAD and analysis software to solve real world problems.

In addition to her full time career, she is currently working on a master’s degree in Interaction Design at Northeastern University.

In 2013 she was honored by the Massachusetts Technology Education/Engineering Collaborative (Masstec) as their Teacher of the Year. 

Beth Lloyd

Beth is interested in universal design for learning and design thinking as they apply to maker spaces and uses these principles to develop spaces and activities accessible to all.

She graduated from Tufts University 40 years ago with a degree in occupational therapy and spent most of her career working as an OT in schools, aka, a MacGyver of school participation of sorts. In 2014, Beth joined her husband on a sabbatical.  After walking the Camino in Spain for a month, they moved to the south side of Chicago.  It was there that she discovered the Maker Lab at the Harold Washington Library and began to taking workshops in digital fabrication as well as felt ball making.

She volunteered at the Fab Lab at the Museum of Science and Industry and learned the workings of a this particular type of maker space.  Currently, she is the Innovation Specialist for Watertown Public Schools.  She has been involved in the evolution of making in her district.  She runs the WHS Wayshak Fab Lab at the high school library and continues to spread the making culture district wide.  Beth sees first hand the power of creation in the eyes and hands of her students and colleagues.Technical experts on the Edgerton Center staff

The workshop will have the assistance of several Edgerton Center staff members that are skilled in digital fabrication tools, hand tools, and electronics.