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Mr Simon Canfield, Coordinator of St Peters Robotics, founded Makerspace in early 2017 to cater for the increasing numbers of students wanting to undertake self-directed projects.

‘I decided to formalise the process and created a dedicated lunchtime for the students to come in and work on their projects,’ Mr Canfield explained.

‘They have to fill out an application form and a project proposal form, which steps them through the materials they will require and the stages of their project.’

Once projects receive approval, students are grouped by interest and level of experience or continue on independently to research, design and source parts for their creations. While some resources are already available in the classroom, including access to 3D printing and laser cutting technology, others are acquired via the Information Technology (IT) department or the generosity of parents via the Robotics Parent Support Group.

Projects include: the building of two drones; the construction of a remote-control plane; and the assembly of a full-size arcade machine comprised of: 3D printed parts; laser-cut casing; an old computer monitor; and driven by raspberry-pi technology.

While Mr Canfield admits that many Makerspace projects cater to the sheer curiosity of participants, some have applied themselves to real-world applications. For example, a Year 10 student is building a raspberry-pi driven barcode scanner linked to a Google Documents table that will help parents in the Robotics Parent Support Group keep track of materials and resources.

No matter the application, Mr Canfield is adamant that the benefits of Makerspace are many.

‘I think it gives them [students] a real sense of creative ownership,’ Mr Canfield said.

‘They can have an idea and go from that idea to making it a reality. I think it’s really important for kids to be able to have a bit of freedom; to be hands-on with tools in a safe way; and to be able to work collaboratively.’