Thanks for stopping by.
I'm James Hannam... an obsessive maker, overly enthusiastic geek, teacher, Apple Education Trainer, Google Trainer and School Advisor. Now that the bragging is out of the way (I hate having to do that stuff) welcome to MakerLabs - a startup company.
Depending on your constitution, available time and attention, the sections below can be expanded to allow you to read as much (or as little) as you like - about how I got here...and what the future holds for me and MakerLabs.
After spending 10 years as a secondary school teacher (Product Design, IT, Engineering) and leader I wanted to see if I could make it in the world of business. I started a training division within a large national IT reseller which lead to me qualifying as an Apple Education Trainer. I was fortunate to work with schools, helping to plan and deploy long lasting tech projects and teacher training schemes.
I co-founded LearnMaker Ltd and developed the idea of 'projects', taking the approach I used for student courses and applying it to school consultancy - high impact work across 10-15 weeks.
In late 2016 I left LearnMaker, having created and worked on several great projects (more about them later) but also realising I still wanted to teach, make and design. My process and the results we tracked, lead to nominations for a NAACE Impact award, and I was recognised as a DfE Specialist Schools advisor.
MakerLabs formed around the idea that I could mix the three things I loved doing to create a livelihood around my love of teaching, advising and making. Making a place where ideas and methods could be tested out, and to continue to work with schools and improve upon the great projects I have acheived so far.
The core of MakerLabs revolves around the idea that teachers/educators/students are inherantly creative. They are makers. creators of resources, designers of experiences, and people wanting to make a difference.
Teacher training - ideas, inspiration, things that get you thinking differently
Consultancy - or rather advice and joining your school for a period as a colleague...not a 'suit'.
Labs - days or residential courses for students, parents, teachers to learn the fun of making / hacking / creating based around unique projects I have developed, all wrapped up in cool take away projects.
I am fortunate to be able to work with some really great partner businesses. People who 'get' my way of thinking, and who see the same things I do. Currently these are (not including everyone) the University of Warwick, various IT resellers, Apple, Google, DJI, and several schools across the UK (more later)
The aim of this year is to see if a business can be formed from my love of teaching, consultancy and making.
MakerLabs already has plans for SummerLabs with our first sessions being booked up in advance. This will see students and parents taking part in one day activities in STEM, computing, and making - with everyone working on challenges across the days. Delivering sessions that are 'flipped', 'challenge led' and practise the benefits of mobile teaching and learning.
As a Product Designer I'm keen to get back to my roots, and want to finally design and produce a range of simple products to help make teaching even better with mobile tech. Little things like stands, holders, and training materials which are easy to access and cost effective. The MakerLabs store goes live in June!
Initial teacher training and mentorship have been a cornerstone for me since I trained to teach in North Wales. I had an excellent mentor and friend in Rhys Evans, who gave me a great introduction to the teaching profession. Today we are still in touch, and even now I call to ask his advice and guidance. MakerLabs is offering support to academic institutions to help form the 'new wave' of teacher training. The SummerLabs have this at their heart, with trainee teachers being able to deliver the events and gain experience in new technology / ideas over the summer vacation.
I am working with a range of awesome makers, vloggers, designers and teachers to create new 'Labs' throughout 2017 - from hydroponics farming using Arduino and BBC Microbit, to CNC machining and drones. The 'Labs' on offer will develop over 2017, with the plan to offer 10 Labs across the year.