What are Makerspaces?

The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in what types of skillsets have real, applicable value in a rapidly advancing world. The question of how to renovate or repurpose classrooms to address the needs of the future is being answered through the concept of makerspaces, or workshops that offer tools and the learning experiences needed to help people carry out their ideas. The driving force behind makerspaces is rooted in the maker movement, a following comprised of artists, tech enthusiasts, engineers, builders, tinkerers, and anyone else with a passion for making things. The foundation of the maker movement was built on the success of the Maker Faire, a gathering that launched in 2006 and has since propagated itself into numerous community-driven events all over the world. Makerspaces are intended to appeal to people of all ages, and are founded on openness to experiment, iterate, and create. In this landscape, creativity, design, and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations, as tools such as 3D printers, robotics, and 3D modeling web-based applications become accessible to more people. Proponents of makerspaces for education highlight the benefit of engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I stand by my statement last year that makerspaces are arguably the most important educational innovations of our time. We have lost the ability to create in this country. - shorr shorr Mar 31, 2016http://www.uat.edu/academics/The_Ability_to_Think_Abstractly.aspx - jmorrison jmorrison Apr 1, 2016I totally agree! It has brought back the hands on project based approach that encourages innovation and creative thinking, much needed in any good educational practice! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Apr 23, 2016
  • Makerspaces also need to be inclusive - dsilva dsilva Apr 3, 2016 https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-05-10-making-for-all-how-to-build-an-inclusive-makerspace
  • Makerspaces are unquestionably the biggest thing to hit K-12 education since the invention of the printing press! Hope to have ours started soon! Such a major movement that it'll probably have to be eliminated as a Horizon Report topic because every school will have one! http://ideas.demco.com/blog/makerspaces-in-schools/ - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Apr 4, 2016- jmorrison jmorrison Apr 8, 2016 I agree. Makerspaces are a gamechanger. - arjana.blazic arjana.blazic Apr 19, 2016
  • I too am in complete agreement with all of the above. We are seeing makerspaces being set up in one or two schools and have been delighted to see small projects being set up for students on gaming, making and designing opportuinties http://www.bitlink.com.au/ Hoping to see more such spaces being developed in makerspaces within our education community - peter.lelong peter.lelong Apr 23, 2016
  • Provides the ability for student to experience, that is what many of us want in our lives. http://www.treehugger.com/culture/study-shows-experiences-not-things-will-make-you-happier.html- jmorrison jmorrison Apr 25, 2016~ Agree - jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016
  • Making has a unique promise of bringing together so many emerging education technologies within a single framework: STEM, Girls and Women, Experiential and interest driven, Creativity, Wearables, 3D printing, Coding, informal education, on & on & on. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016 - adrian_lim adrian_lim May 1, 2016
  • Certainly the most promising and interesting area in the Educational Technology sector right now. It brings together so many different areas of school into a combined sector. Seeing many schools, especially at the elementary level disassembling computer labs to make way for makerspaces. It's a great change that's combining exploration with curriculum, with technology, and gets the computers back to the class instead of in a once a week/month/year lab that students get to go to. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Apr 28, 2016 - adrian_lim adrian_lim May 1, 2016
  • - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs May 1, 2016Makerspaces offer exciting opportunities for shifting the focus of technology integration in learning and teaching towards a designer and creator's mindset - for learners, teachers, principals and parents.
  • Totally agree with all of the above and we hope to establish a maker space in our new building at the university for our preservice teachers to use in particular as well as bringing in practising teachers and their students to work there - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler May 1, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Those of us who are over 30 (!!) remember "shop class" in school...formally known as Industrial Arts. I'd like to see some history of this, especially why it was cut years ago and what factors led to it being rediscovered as important. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Apr 4, 2016
  • In Denmark the subject was called “Design” and faded out years ago because the lack of involving IT and digital products. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Apr 10, 2016
  • In Colorado, the public library systems are getting into these spaces (literally and figuratively); this is a potential point of convergence between the libraries and K-12. - mporter mporter Apr 23, 2016
  • The challenge to the educational community is the ability to develop pedagogical resources. Taking advantage of opportunities, like the library example above is one way to promote wider access to this type of learning and influence educational assumptions and practices bridging formal and informal education.- jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016Totally agree on this. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Apr 28, 2016
  • - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs May 1, 2016In poor-resource schooling contexts, do makerspaces enable a 'leapfrog' effect in learning, teaching and creative inquiry?- adrian_lim adrian_lim May 1, 2016
  • I think the thing we need to remember is that the creation of a single space isn't the goal, but the integration of the convect into many classrooms is what we should be aiming for. We need to make sure the funding and enthusiasm don't stop once the "makerspace" is opened. - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski May 1, 2016
  • Related to David's comments above, perhaps an exploration of the differences between shop class/Home Ec and MakerSpaces is in order. Short version: a place to send kids who weren't cutting it in the classroom vs an integrated educational experience that provides opportunities for students to become creators of "stuff" and content (instead of just consumers), but that is directly tied with their learning in Math/Science/ELA (and sometimes even social studies) - shorr shorr May 2, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • The potential impact of the Makerspace is no less than disruptive innovation. Schools' libraries can turn into a Makerspace promoting teachers and student to visualize and create artifacts, which deeply connected to the subject matter and makes learning more engaging, more collaborative and much more fun. It will help to introduce new methodologies such as game-like principles and more. Thus, the introduction of a Makerspace can change the way teaching and learning evolve in school.
    http://www.instituteofplay.org/2012/12/collaborate-prototype-playtest-explode-how-we-design-game-like-learning-at-quest/ - guyl guyl Mar 30, 2016
    Agree - jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016 Agree - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler May 1, 2016
  • I agree with the above. A full makerspace curriculum isn't for every student, but it is for a lot of them; and the infusion of some makerspace time/content is critical for all students. - shorr shorr Mar 31, 2016- jmorrison jmorrison Apr 1, 2016 - dsilva dsilva Apr 9, 2016- peter.lelong peter.lelong Apr 24, 2016Agree, not everyone will love it, but it's engaging a lot of students in ways they were not previously engaged. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Apr 28, 2016
  • They're the cornerstone of STEM/STEAM...indeed, they combine everything that is touted as being "21st century education." http://learni.st/users/dawncasey/boards/33414-the-importance-of-makerspaces - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Apr 4, 2016- jmorrison jmorrison Apr 8, 2016
  • In their book From STEM to STEAM, David Sousa and Tom Pilecki make a compelling space for how bringing in the Arts (what happens a lot in makerspaces) increases student learning and involvement. They show a lot of research and neuroscience to support this. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Apr 23, 2016
  • Although the maker movement is often closely associated with the STEM And coding spaces, & perhaps rightly so, making extends beyond these to promote exploratory, empirical and experimental approaches to working with various materials. This process of idea, design, & creation expands the maker experience beyond their own expression of interest in a social space that encourages authenticity and relevance. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Big in Iowa is doing some interesting things. I can put you in touch with Shawn if you don't know him. http://www.iowabig.org/ - shorr shorr Mar 31, 2016
  • I visited MakerBay in Feb 2016 during the 21CL HK Conference. Great integration between MakerSpaces and social entrepreneurship - dsilva dsilva Apr 3, 2016 http://www.makerbay.org/
  • As mentioned, we're getting ours going soon. Next, we need something to put in it! Maybe that's something else that could be addressed, namely, how to do this on a tight budget. But we hope to "build it, and the rest (robots, drones, etc.) will come." ;) - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Apr 4, 2016 Just got the word yesterday: Our Makerspace has been approved. Construction will happen this summer. Now...what to put in it, on a budget? Suggestions welcome!
  • http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-06/29/content_21127750_4.htm- jmorrison jmorrison Apr 13, 2016
  • http://www.edutopia.org/topic/maker-education - jmorrison jmorrison Apr 13, 2016
  • http://croatianmakers.hr/croatian-makers-liga/ (I'm sorry but their website is Croatian only) Croatian Makers Legaue is a privately funded project whose aim is introduce coding and robotics to Croatian elementary school students. The sponsors have donated equipment to more than 60 schools and students are now taking part in national competitions. - arjana.blazic arjana.blazic Apr 19, 2016
  • Colégio Bandeirantes in Brazil designed a High School STEAM curriculum that puts makerspaces in the school schedule for all students, 200 minutes a week! http://steam.colband.net.br to see some examples.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Apr 23, 2016
  • I am seeing the commencement of school design here in Tasmania where spaces are being actively considered and realised that offer opportunities for students to explore, create and innovate in a makerspace environment. Resourcing is a constant tension for competing funds but the schools who have commenced developing makerspaces are succeeding through the support of the school's leadership.- peter.lelong peter.lelong Apr 24, 2016
  • https://www.americasgreatestmakers.com/ a reality competition TV show Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30pm Central, on TBS. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Apr 26, 2016
  • - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs May 1, 2016 The Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg South Africa is an exciting space to watch. Whilst established by the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering and the Learning Innovation Networking and Knowledge (LINK) Center at the University of Witwatersrand, school communities are an important part of their focus. Already they have organized programs for high school students in South African 'townships' where the majority of poorer schools are located. http://tshimologong.joburg
  • - adrian_lim adrian_lim May 1, 2016 A project called PlayMaker has been rolled out for 160 preschools and kindergartens in Singapore in 2016. Play and Maker-based learning is driving the implementation idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHK8wxMrNdI
  • - adrian_lim adrian_lim May 1, 2016 Important to incorporate the element of play and making together especially for preschoolers. https://www.ida.gov.sg/Tech-Scene-News/Tech-News/Tech-Adoption/2016/1/Teaching-through-PlayMaking

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