Skip to main content

Creating Outside of Movement: A Grant-Supported Makerspace for the Dance Classroom

black and white headshot of woman with head tilted, hand on head, and dark braids

Congratulations to Karon Johnson, a student in the Educational Technology Master’s Degree Program at Loyola University and a high school teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools, for receiving a $5000 grant from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. This grant will fund 9th to 12th grade students exploring makerspaces, immersive technology, and dance. Because different sectors connect to the art of dance, the vision is to expose dancers to different avenues that empower them to be change agents in the field. The initiatives of this grant aim to build confidence, make connections, detect networking skills, and develop individuals into diverse 21st-century artists.

The grant project is a multilayered program that includes makerspace for dancers, immersive technology, and dance exploration. The project will allow students to connect to a broader scope for student agency and create outside of movement where they can be a part of the production process. "As an artist, I see the importance of visuals as they connect to learning. The use of manipulatives for me is therapeutic. It also will create new opportunities for application beyond movement, which is one of my goals for this initiative," states Karon.

The makerspace for dancers will specifically allow students to create a visual representation (prop, reconstruction of a costume, or something different of their choice) that connects to the theme of their Spring Dance Concert. Students will have autonomy over what they create and will create these representations using materials provided through the grant's funding. Students will also explore immersive technology using the MergeEdu application as a warm-up to support students in self-discovery. In Karon's classroom, dance anatomy has become a massive part of connecting body parts to movement and stage design. The MergeEdu immersive technology application will allow students to connect with parts of the human body through self-discovery to better understand how their body moves and works in dance.

The grant will also fund a series of master classes in contemporary and jazz dance by networking with professional artists. Students will be expected to make connections and compare and contrast the history, vocabulary, and movement. Students will read, reflect, write, and dialogue through journaling during this exploration process. Opportunities for student reflection will be encouraged in audio, visual, and writing. “My purpose is to ensure that students and teachers are equipped with and have access to resources that will help them expand, be inspired, and find purpose. The next step for moving beyond the classroom is to advocate for implementing new things. I can only create this by intentionally trying new things and sharing what I have learned. Creating this type of project and writing a grant was new to me. I believe this to be my next step beyond my classroom, being open to doing something new and sharing it.”

The Loyola Educational Technology program provides multiple opportunities for students to submit grants and conference proposals, publish blogs and publications, and grow in their professional practice. “As a graduate student in the Educational Technology program, I have been inspired by the self-awareness and expansion of the mind I have experienced through the coursework. Examining social justice and educational technology has allowed me to analyze different perspectives and value collaborating with my peers. I am also developing ways to become innovative in my teaching while applying frameworks to create opportunities for students to enhance 21st-century skills” says Karon.

Want to know more about the online Loyola Educational Technology program? Find more information on the program at and follow the Loyola Ed Tech program on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok  - @LoyolaET

Karon Johnson is the Graduate Assistant for Loyola’s  Educational Technology M.Ed. Program. She teaches dance and health at Gwynn Park High School in Prince George's County Public Schools. She also assists in curriculum writing for both contents and enjoys being a dance team coach and equity lead for her school. Karon’s Twitter: