Bringing Maker Education to Our Schools:

A Community Conversation

ticketsThursday, November 17, 7:00 at KID Museum (6400 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD)
$10 admission ($9 KID Museum members)

Kids who are exposed to hands-on, maker-oriented learning experience increased engagement, comprehension, retention–and enjoyment. So how can we give our kids more opportunities for this type of learning?

Join KID Museum for a conversation about the different ways we can bring maker learning into our schools.

Hear the stories of three local schools–elementary, middle, and high–and learn about how they’ve taken advantage of tools, technology, and resources to successfully integrate making into the school day.

This public panel session is open to all.

Think-Make-Improve: Designing and Developing a Makerspace and Maker and Coding Activities for Early Childhood
Karen Opdahl, Director of Educational Technology
Nan Stifel, Librarian
Concord Hill School

Integrating Maker Activities into Curriculum / Making and ESOL
Lisa Hack, Media Specialist
Lisa Labbate, ESOL Instructor
Silver Spring International Middle School

Computer Technology Education (CTE) Design Challenge Winner: Dominion High
Josh Ajima, Technology Resource Teacher
Loudon Academy of Science and Dominion High School


Nan Stifel is the Librarian and Karen Opdahl is the Director of Educational Technology at Concord Hill School, a nondenominational, coeducational independent school for students age three through third grade in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Nan has shared their maker program highlights at meetings of the International Society for Technology in Education and the Association of Independent Maryland Schools. They work with students and teachers to plan and carry out special Makerspace projects. Whether building, tinkering, coding, producing green screen video effects, or working with wood or robots, the students exemplify the Makerspace motto, Think-Make-Improve.

Lisa Labbate is an ESOL teacher at Silver Spring International Middle School. She is in her 6th year of teaching and has previously taught in New York City. Ms. Labbate enjoys using various kinds of technology in her lessons in order to get her English Language Learners engaged and excited about learning!

Lisa Hack has been a Media Specialist at the middle and high school levels for 20 years. She has worked in various schools in Connecticut and Maryland, and is currently the Media Specialist at the Silver Spring International Middle School. She started building a MakerSpace at SSIMS in 2013 and it has grown every year. She is currently working on integrating hands-on learning into the curriculum in all subject areas.

Josh Ajima, Computer Technology Education (CTE) Winner: Dominion High School
Josh Ajima is the Technology Resource Teacher for the Loudoun Academy of Science and Dominion High School. Winner of the US Department of Education CTE Challenge, the Dominion High School makerspace is an updated CTE classroom paired with a set of mobile maker carts. Students in the makerspace have access to the latest in digital fabrication machines and electronics in order to create public products for the world that solve authentic challenging problems. The maker carts are spread out around the school providing access to maker tools in every classroom.

Scott Joftus (moderator) is very familiar with the workings of state education agencies and local school districts from his many years in the education field as a teacher, the director of an education policy firm, a head of an education policy consulting group, and the leader of an education advocacy organization. He is also a well-seasoned evaluator of education programs, having conducted numerous evaluations for states and districts. Scott is now putting that experience to good use with the national rollout of The Learning Network, a new approach to school system improvement, and as the senior strategic advisor and technical assistance provider of the Race to the Top Technical Assistance Network a $43 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support bold reforms and dramatic improvements in student achievement in states across the country.