Collaboration with Maplewoodshop

by: Dr. Sharon A. Brusic

This fall, the Technology & Engineering Education program entered into a collaborative agreement with Mike Schloff, CEO and founder of Maplewoodshop. Schloff founded Maplewoodshop in 2016 to help children in grades 3-8 develop life skills through woodworking with hand tools. This year, Mike donated a complete, portable tool chest containing the workstations, tools, and safety equipment to serve up to 16 students working at the same time as well as curriculum, professional development and consulting. The intent of this collaboration is to expose students in Millersville University’s (MU) Technology & Engineering Education (TECE) program and Integrative STEM Education Methods (iSTEM) program to woodworking as an educational vehicle that they could use with future students.

The Maplewoodship tool chest includes custom tabletop woodworking stations (patent pending). These stations enable safe sawing, drilling, hammering, planing, and more while preserving the work tables (usually school tables) upon which children work. However, the Maplewoodshop collaboration includes more than tools and equipment. The 5-year agreement will enable TECE and iSTEM students to participate in two workshops per year to learn strategies for engaging young learners in woodworking by participating in hands-on instruction themselves. Our TECE program has access to Maplewoodshop’s extensive online and digital learning resources. We will be providing feedback to Mike and his team about the curriculum, instructional resources, and teaching strategies being used. Additionally, some of our students will have access to new opportunities to work with Maplewoodshop. They could develop new projects and lesson plans that could potentially find their way into his program or potentially be hired to teach the Maplewoodshop program at community events and camps. The Maplewoodshop program will likely find its way into one or more courses offered through the TECE or iSTEM programs. Additionally, Len Litowitz is considering how he might integrate it into the Technology & Engineering camps run each summer in Osburn Hall.

Woodworking has been a fundamental component of Technology & Engineering Education and its predecessors for generations. That’s nothing new. However, this new collaboration makes it possible for future teachers to experience Maplewoodshop’s well-designed and tested system for promoting woodworking with young children. This is particularly unique for iSTEM students who have little or no experience with woodworking themselves. The hope is that iSTEM students, in particular, will develop the confidence and competence they need to engage young children in this rewarding, educational endeavor using a system that is safe, affordable, and well-articulated with high quality training materials and support.

Mike Schloff’s donation (valued at over $21,000 over five years) is certain to enhance the opportunities our TECE and iSTEM students have in Osburn Hall as they prepare to be Technology & Engineering and STEM educators. We are very grateful for this collaboration and we look forward to working with Maplewoodshop on this special project. Learn more about Maplewoodshop and Mike Schloff’s woodworking philosophy by watching these videos: Maplewoodshop: In School Woodworking Education (2:28 minutes) and Maplewoodshop for Schools (1:43 minutes).