Makerspaces A to Z: Junk Food

Laura Fleming

Thanks for checking out my #MakerspacesAtoZ blog series. In case you missed it, you can catch my previous posts here:

A:  Aspirational
B:  Boring
C:  Combinatory
D:  Disobedient
E:  Enterprising
F:  Fundamental
G:  G.O.A.T.
H:  Human Algorithm Design
I:  Impactful

What seems like a lifetime ago now, I did lots of work in something called transmedia storytelling. Check out this piece, this piece and this piece for more.  Transmedia storytelling is a fascinating space with unlimited, and almost untapped, potential, to reach and engage all of our learners. In the book Digital Storytelling, written by Carolyn Handler Miller, she has an entire chapter dedicated to “Tackling Projects for Children,” in which she points out the special considerations that we must be aware of in designing a work of digital storytelling for children. In that chapter, she presents “The Seven Kisses of Death” in the process of creating interactive projects for children, and talks about how she has seen those seven things “invade projects for young people with great ease.” I think it isn’t a far leap to say that the process of creating a makerspace is in fact the creation of an interactive “project,” of sorts. Many of her “Seven Kisses of Death” have direct parallels to our makerspaces, but the one I wanted to highlight in this post is Junk Food! Yes, Junk Food! Ms. Miller’s “Death Kiss #3: You’ve Just Got to Amuse Them,” outlines something she calls the “junk food approach,” which essentially operates under the assumption that children are less discriminating than adults, therefore sometimes the focus is on products that are fun, but that have no substance. For many who are left wondering why the products they have in their makerspace once engaged their students, but now they are bored with them, this could be why. As Ms. Miller says,

“While kids love to be entertained, they are also hungry for content.”

What can you do to ensure that your makerspace does not include junk food!? Share your thoughts at #MakerspacesAtoZ.

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