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makerlabs

We create awesome experiences & resources focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths.

 
 
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Hello.

My name is James Hannam, and I am the founder of MakerLabs. I find it really interesting listening to how people got to where they are, the journey each person takes, and their experiences. This is a brief run down of my story so far, and how I came to create MakerLabs.

I have been secondary school teacher for over 10 years, specialising in Product Design and Computer Aided Design and Manufacture. I had a fantastic time teaching Design and Technology, and eventually started leading on whole school projects - introducing new curriculum, assessment methods and teacher training. In 2010 I started (what would end up being) an epic school development project, which would ultimately peak my fascination with project/change management in schools. 

The project in question involved liaising with other 3 secondary schools and a college, developing centralised curriculum and staff training as well as raising over £500k. I learnt a crazy amount about myself, and a lot about project management.  Being able to convert some of the oldest school buildings in Lincolnshire into wonderful flexible teaching spaces using (at the time) new technology, and leaving a legacy was fantastic. The entirety of the project developed 8 classrooms, 1 large teaching space and many processes and proceedures. I documented the whole project here if you are interested.

After cutting my teeth a few more 'change' projects, it dawned on me thatI really enjoyed projects that looked at the whole school - both buildings and infrastructure, and teachers, students and their courses. Today I still see schools as living machines, made up of systems and processes.

I left teaching and joined Academia, a IT reseller company, setting up a training and consultancy division aimed at helping schools use their technology more effectively. This took me around the UK and parts of Europe, as well as allowing me to work with Apple and Google - a fantastic opportunity. It is at Academia where I became qualified as an Apple Education Trainer and Google Education Trainer.

Having been 'given' the start of a company, I wanted to try and set up a business from scratch. LearnMaker Ltd was the next chapter for me. I spent a few good years creating and delivering school change projects. Working with teachers and headteachers across the country. My work allowed me to personally apply for DfE Advisor roles, and LearnMaker projects I led were nominated for various awards and commendations. I found though, that I was getting further away from the classroom, and wanted to keep that connection alive.

 

2016

 

At the end of 2016 I left LearnMaker and was looking ahead to 2017. Unsure of what I would do next, I spent the holiday period reflecting on what I had done to date.

After a lot of talking with friends and family... and a lot of soul searching I realised I loved doing four things;

Teaching - being able to share ideas and see others 'get it' is an amazing feeling.

Consultancy - I love seeing projects as parts of a machine, a system, a series of processes

Making - I am a designer at heart, I love literally getting my hands dirty and making / repairing / redesigning

Events - combining all the above into awesome days where people get to share in my ideas and enthusiasm

I figured... If I could survive a year doing what I love, then that would be an awesome business to be part of. If I could make a little money to help expand the scope...even better.

 

Today

 

So, there we are. This brings me to today. MakerLabs is (if you like) an experiment in combining my love of teaching, consultancy, and making into a company that helps teachers, students, makers, and schools.

 

A few highlights from 2017:

  • Spent January at the BETT show with Apple
  • Delivered over 30 days of Apple training
  • Delivered over 20 days of Google training
  • Summer spend developing and delivering STEM 'MakerCamps', each one selling out
  • Worked with three schools long term to improve their use of IT
  • Teaching at a primary school in Birmingham
  • Becoming (once again) a School Governor
  • Creating NPQH, EL, SL, and M courses for the new DfE framework
  • Developed 10+ STEM projects which can be downloaded from MakerLabs store
  • Become a STEM ambassador
  • Featured on several podcasts
  • Worked with DJI drones
  • Filmed by the BBC
  • Designed and manufactured a 'maker' electronic skateboard
  • Worked with leading Arts centres in Birmingham
  • Designed courses for several charities (involving STEM projects)
  • Designed (and sold) several iPad stands for filming teacher demonstrations. 

 

On the horizon

 

The next few months I have some really interesting projects lined up. The focus will be on STEM and STEAM, with a range of courses, events and partnerships already lined up. The next set of MakerCamps are lined up for October and December, as well as a few 'products' in the pipeline. 

Hopefully, this is the start of a fantastic business. I have really enjoyed 2017 so far, and want to get more people involved, especially teachers. If you have read through this far... well done... and thank you!

If you would like to get in touch, want to talk about working together, or just want to talk geek. Please fill out the form below..

Alternatively, as with everyone else in this world, Im on most social media. My preference is Instagram (mainly because I like food photos, and #instagreat), you can also get me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Tumblr.

#makersgonnamake

 

 

James

 
 

Latest builds, updates, makes and cakes from @iamjameshannam