New GCAA Faculty – Andrew Goodin

GCAA is excited to welcome new faculty member Andrew Goodin, who will direct the Makerspace lab.  Mr. Goodin is an award-winning science teacher, entrepreneur and innovative educator.   He is on the leading edge of integrating Makerspace labs into traditional school models, with a special interest in bringing these groundbreaking ideas to urban schools.  According to Mr. Goodin, the Maker movement has a tremendous amount of momentum and the new space at GCAA will be truly unique as a prototype for extending this program to more schools.  In case you are wondering what this is all about, here is a good overall definition of Makerspace.

Mr. Goodin is a friend of fellow educator and technology specialist, Gregory Hill, who set up a small scale Makerspace lab at GCAA this last semester.  Together, they recently formed their own 501c3 non-profit called the Disruption Department. This will allow them to receive funding for their program costs and gain wider support to help replicate the model being grown at GCAA.

“Gregory and I were 2008 TFA (Teach For America) corps members,” said Goodin.  “We met in Houston at our training and instantly became good friends and connected over having the same sort of mindset regarding schools and what needs to happen in schools.  We were both frustrated by the lack of technology and lack of creative thinking that too often happens in schools.

“We would get together to talk about ideas.  He introduced me to Twitter, which is an incredible resource for networking with other educators.  Through our conversations, our idea of the Disruption Department formed because we both saw a need for infusing technology into our city schools.

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“Grand Center Arts Academy is an incredibly unique school.  The fact that students will have flex time in which they can access the Makerspace to create and invent and  tinker is one-of-a-kind.  I will be a GCAA teacher, first and foremost. The space is truly a collaborative environment, and I foresee teachers using it as well to come and explore ideas and interweave this process into their courses.  I have told other science teachers about my role as Makerspace facilitator and they have said, ‘oh my gosh, this is the best possible thing you could be doing.'”

Dan Rubright, in a recent interview, asked Mr. Goodin,  “Have you thought about the journey of exploration and discovery that an artist takes compared to the creative process that you are describing in the maker space?

A.G.:  “I think there are a lot of arts in science, engineering, math, technology (STEM) already.  The benefit of being here at an arts school is that because students are receiving that arts education in all of their classes, when they come to create something of their choosing in the Makerspace, art will be naturally embedded.

The process of embedding something – we call it the design thinking cycle – is when you see a problem, you develop a solution and you prototype a solution.  That, by nature, requires the same sort of brain power as dance, music or visual arts.”

GCAA is moving to integrate the STEAM (STEM, with an A for Arts) model into an already arts-infused curriculum.  The process of exploration, observation, brainstorming, trial and error, critical thinking and design, is intrinsic within all arts practices as well as successful academic endeavor.

For more information about GCAA’s Makerspace:

http://gcaamakerspace.wordpress.com/

http://www.donorschoose.org/we-teach/232323

This is the first in a continuing series of interviews with incoming faculty members.