Release Date: 9/12/2017
Contact: Office of Communications, 443.809.5908

New agreement connects BCPS teachers, students to one of the nation’s largest makerspaces

MOU signed between BCPS and Open Works

TOWSON, MD. – Baltimore County Public Schools and Open Works, one of the nation’s largest makerspaces, have signed a new cooperative agreement that will increase access to the facility for teachers and students.

Through the agreement, all BCPS teachers will receive deeply discounted membership rates and eventually will be able to earn professional development credits for Open Works courses. The Open Works facilities will be available for class field trips, meetings, workshops, classes, and other events for a minimal fee.

The BCPS Office of Visual Arts and Office of Innovative Learning Projects collaborated on the development of this agreement with Open Works and on plans for how it will support visual arts instruction, the BCPS Mobile Innovation Lab, and the growing number of makerspaces in county schools.

“I like to think of artists as the original makers, with much to contribute to the discussion on the maker movement," said Sherri Fisher, BCPS coordinator of visual arts. “We are looking to STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics] strategies to deepen student engagement and critical thinking skills.

“Partnering with Open Works provides educators and students a model for cross-discipline collaboration, finding solutions for ideas and problems we have yet to discover. Open Works describes itself as the ‘YMCA of Maker Spaces.’ It’s an apt description. Teachers and students – through teacher-led opportunities –will now have access to facilities and trainings in maker areas ranging from digital fabrication to woodshop to 3D printing to embroidery."

Open Works, which opened in September 2016, is a 34,000-square-foot state-of-the-art fabrication facility in Baltimore City that houses a wood shop, metal shop, and digital media studio along with a digital fabrication shop (CNC routers and laser cutters), a 3D printing studio, an electronics lab, and a textiles studio. In addition, Open Works offers flexible co-working space options for operating a small business, as well as designing, assembling, and finishing projects.

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