RAFT Announces New Products and Services for Maker Education

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RAFT now offers consulting, professional learning, and supplies for makerspaces

Makers in action, car and car wash made from RAFT materials.

RAFT announces a range of products and services which provide educators with professional learning and coaching, robust design-based curriculum, and upcycled materials to engage students in creative exploration and experimentation in school based makerspaces.

To help today’s students master critical STEM concepts and skills, educators must integrate inquiry-based, student-directed learning into their classrooms. A study by Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education titled Student-Centered Schools: Closing the Opportunity Gap from June, 2014, here, showed that this kind of learning has a significant impact on students’ academic achievement and preparedness for college, especially for high-need students. Students in the four schools which participated in the study outperformed their peers on state assessments, graduated at rates that exceeded district and state averages, and stayed in college at a higher rate than the national average. RAFT’s new offerings are designed to help educators provide these same educational opportunities to their students.

RAFT can assist schools with the design of makerspaces, whether in dedicated rooms, at the back of classrooms, or even via portable designs. To then support these spaces, RAFT can stock the space with an ongoing supply of surplus materials. Maker education stimulates students to make flexible, adaptive choices about the materials and tools they use in learning challenges. Thanks to the support of hundreds of corporate and community donors, RAFT is able to provide educators with a wide range of materials to incorporate in their STEM learning. Each delivery of materials will include a variety of items like blocks of foam, wood, and colorful cardboard tubes that inspire and engage students in prototyping solutions to real-world problems.

RAFT also offers curriculum units, designed specifically for pre-K through 8th grade students. Each unit aligns a real-world challenge with the performance expectation of one or more standard, from Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Math, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), or the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) for early learners. Many units provide an opportunity for cross-curriculum learning, addressing multiple standards in Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology. When a student successfully completes a challenge they are able to demonstrate their mastery of the STEM concepts applied.

RAFT has designed professional learning and coaching to assist educators in support of their makerspaces. RAFT’s professional learning program will deepen educators’ understanding of design-thinking and train them in using the makerspace tools and equipment. The training strengthens teachers’ ability to develop their own design-based curriculum, ensuring that they can use their new knowledge to build custom lessons that fully engage and challenge their students. This professional learning can be delivered at your school site or at RAFT.

RAFT’s goals for these offerings are to grow educator understanding of design-thinking and increase their confidence in sharing this type of learning with their students. Contact RAFT’s Director of Learning Jason Pittman at jpittman@raft.net to discuss how RAFT can help your school have a thriving makerspace strongly tied to educational goals.

About RAFT
RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT supports over 10,000 educators each year who teach over 835,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at http://www.raft.net

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Kristy Ward

Natarshia Mosley
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