Makerspaces promote learning through tinkering and creating and are as unique and diverse as the learners themselves. A mixture of arts and crafts, science, and technology with creativity, innovation and play, they are fast becoming a critical part of every school, especially school libraries.
Similar to hacker labs and other technology makerspaces, school makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering.
A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. And it has been shown that when kids are empowered to be makers, amazing things can happen in their lives. By being creators instead of just consumers, they are learning to be the innovators of the future, today. Their confidence in their own abilities allows them to make the change they want to see in the world.
Implementing a makerspace in your school
Makerspaces by their very diverse and creative construct are designed to encourage unexpected outcomes. They can also be designed to include curricular activities that are specifically guided by and align with the following standards:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Problem identification
- Effective communication of ideas
- Evaluation and refinement of creative ideas
Makerspaces must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set Maker Spaces and STEAM labs apart from single-use spaces. A possible range of activities might include:
- Cardboard construction
- Digital fabrication
- Building bicycles and kinetic machines
- Textiles and sewing
Designing a space to accommodate such a wide range of activities is a challenging process. Educators and administrators can help guide the process and generate the space that works best by researching, brainstorming and clearly articulating their needs, while keeping in mind inevitable changes in the future.
Teacher participants in a maker space course offered by Dominican University will evaluate and analyze the rationale for integrating creativity and innovation in education and then work through a systematic process to design and implement a maker space in their school.
In this course, participants will have the opportunity to gain a better awareness and understanding of the importance of integrating creativity and innovation in education gain a better awareness and understanding of the process and challenges of designing and implementing a Maker Space in their school
This course systematically guides teachers through the process of design and implementation of a maker space.