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MDOE Commissioner Observes Makerspace Learning

Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin visited Rowe Elementary School on Nov. 10 to observe the operation of the district’s new Mobile Makerspace, which was at Rowe for the week.  Commissioner Makin was able to see students experience phenomenon-based STEM learning experiences led by STEM teacher Karen Shibles. Makin observed fifth-graders programming micro:bits for their electric guitars as part of the makerspace.

The PPS Mobile Makerspace, launched this past September, is a mobile lab that provides a collaborative setting for making, learning, exploring, and sharing – using high-tech to no-tech tools. It will provide every PreK-5 student in the district with at least one design/innovation/engineering experience each year. The makerspace travels between schools to engage and empower students to explore, create, and solve meaningful problems in the STEM fields.

Portland Superintendent Xavier Bota thanked Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Melea Nalli and STEM Coordinator Brooke Teller for their ongoing work to create these great opportunities for PPS students.

In other STEM-related developments at the Portland Public Schools, the Maine Department of Education has provided Mobile Computer Science Labs that the district is in the process of ordering and will start rolling out in the next several weeks. Botana recognized the work of the district’s Technology Integration Coordinator Courtney Graffius for her foresight in pursuing this program by taking advantage of the DOE funding, and her commitment to operationalizing it.