On June 17, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 10 winners in the $200,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge, which called for high schools to create models for transforming classrooms or available spaces in high schools into places where students have access to the tools to design, build, and innovate, ultimately strengthening next-generation career and technical schools.
Three of the 10 winners are Texas schools: John H. Reagan Early College High School and William B. Travis Early College High School in Austin ISD, which is a Consortium Associates district, and Theodore Roosevelt High School in North East ISD.
Makerspaces are environments that provide the materials and equipment for students to conceive, collaborate, and learn through building their own innovations. These facilities may be classrooms, libraries, and mobile spaces, all of which provide the resources for students to create and learn through making, and in the process, gain essential 21st-century career skills, such as critical thinking, planning, and communication.
The winners will receive $20,000 in cash and a share of in-kind prizes from the $378,000 sponsor prize pool to help build or renovate their makerspaces. They will produce and submit a video tour of their constructed models for use in the CTE Makerspace Showcase, to be held at the World Maker Faire in New York City in October 2016.
In April, more than 640 schools from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. entered a first round submission with their school information and preliminary plans. Next, eligible schools were invited to participate in an intensive six-week boot camp exploring resources, readings, webinars, and assignments on a range of makerspace topics, including designing a makerspace, engaging the community, developing a budget, and creating projects that build making skills. At the end of the boot camp, schools submitted a blueprint to be considered for selection and prizes. The winners were recommended by a panel of judges composed of high-profile leaders in making from across industry and academia.
The Department’s CTE Makeover Challenge is part of a series of prize competitions that aim to spur development of new technology, products, and resources that will prepare students for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of tomorrow. The series is funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.