Long Island LEADS
Submitted by Kristina Holzweiss, Long Island LEADS Founder
The maker movement is a movement of people, not of things. The resurgence of STEAM education, hands-on learning, and “making” is spreading across the country in schools, libraries, and museums. Makerspaces and maker programs are being established to promote critical thinking and problem solving, empathy, collaboration, communication, and a growth mindset.
On Long Island, a National School Board Association "20 to Watch" and NY former School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year Kristina Holzweiss has spearheaded a nonprofit organization Long Island LEADS. A founding member of the Nation of Makers, the mission of Long Island LEADS is to learn, educate, advocate, develop, and support opportunities for STEAM education and the maker movement. A founding member of the Nation of Makers “The future begins today,” Holzweiss says. “We must prepare our children for the world of tomorrow, while respecting the past. I learned as a young child from my immigrant grandparents that you did the best with what you had. Coming to America my grandparents had to be very frugal and creative so that they could provide a brighter future for their family.” In addition to authentic experiences to address AASL, ISTE, and content area standards other benefits of the maker movement are sustainability, entrepreneurship, and an improved local economy.
Through its monthly maker meetups and annual SLIME – Students of Long Island Maker Expo event Long Island LEADS offers opportunities for educators, librarians, museum directors, nonprofit organizations, parents, students, local companies, and community members to share ideas and resources. “These are the only opportunities where all stakeholders are at the same table,” explains Kristina Holzweiss. “There is always someone missing at traditional conferences and workshops. But making is a collaboration, not a competition. Together we can accomplish so much more. Our organization is helping people to become more interconnected so they can develop meaningful relationships in today’s technological society. Conversations need to include different voices.”
To learn more about Long Island LEADS and to become a free member visit longislandleads.org. You won’t want to miss this year’s 3rd annual SLIME on May 20th at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City, NY. Visit slimemakerexpo.com to see the list of sponsors, speakers, workshop leaders, and presenters.