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. 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. 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. Makerspaces are intended to appeal to people of all ages, and are founded an openness to experiment, iterate, and create. The driving force behind Maker spaces is rooted in the Maker movement, a following comprised of artists, tech enthusiasts, engineers, builders, tinkerers, and anyone else who has a passion for making things. The formation of the movement stems from 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.

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

  • - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Jan 30, 2014 As physical educational institutions face growing competition from online learning institutions, learning spaces can fill a need to bring learners together to create and collaborate on physical products. K-12 schools are uniquely positioned to provide learning opportunities that take advantage of space to engage the learning in more authentic and relevant ways. The Maker Movement can be seen as a great opportunity to capitalize on the opportunity school spaces provide to provide valuable learning experiences for learners.
  • These collaborative learning spaces house many future entrepreneurs. They scream "personalized learning is happening here." This is a good aritcle about how the Makerspace model might be the next classroom of the future. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/classroom-makerspaces-transformative-learning-stephanie-west-puckett - jmorrison jmorrison Jan 24, 2014
  • These informal learning spaces may be a tipping point for new instructional environments. The 4-walled classroom has expired. Skype is in, 1-to-1 laptop/iPad continues to be the primary source, and mobile learning shifts the present educational model. Media labs and learning spaces are on the rise. Hopefully, there will be more spaces such as this in schools coupled with the writing cafe space. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Jan 24, 2014
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 Yes, Makerspaces...aka the Do-It-Yourself Movement...are the way to put the "personal" into "personalized learning"! ;) Folks at my school saw the light during our recent Hour of Code (http://code.org/educate): one kid chose Java, another Python...all learning coding, just different languages! I mentioned elsewhere that we conducted a survey re: extracurricular activities. 75% of what kids suggested involved technologies, but different ones! Why not try to accommodate most if not all? Yes, budget is a consideration, but how about a mini- version of crowdfunding? If six kids want to do robotics, have their parents split the costs!- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 7, 2014
  • Education and the maker movement. Page 6. http://www.cue.org/sites/cue.org/files/images/121013_OnCUE_W13_lorez-1.pdf- jmorrison jmorrison Jan 31, 2014
  • Besides all that has already been said, this model promotes problem-based learning, creativity, collaboration and hands-on activity. We have been working with this type of model for over 18 years at our school (though it wasn't called Makerspace then), and we see it gives kids opportunities to use manipulatives, bringing back skills that they are getting few opportunities today to develop. Many of my students have never lighted a match or tied a bow! We also notice that for teachers who work with this type of activity, it is the best way to teach them how to also think out of the box, see new opportunities for teaching. It's a hands on professional development, because they then take this mindset back to their classroom. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 3, 2014
  • Who wants to sit and hear about how things work, you learn best from doing and experiencing. Kids will be more excited to come to school. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 7, 2014- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014Clearly, one of the most promising disruptive innovation initiatives in we will see in years. The comeback of DIY with a 3.0 twist ismixing construcionism, technology and 21st century skills, which for me is a win-win kind of game.Makerspaces allow schools to integrate experiential learning practices into their routine. I find that students’ activities along with guided questions and investigation, should have extensive hands –on practice and the Maker culture is a great model for learning and teaching.- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 7, 2014
  • I agree with the comments above, especially the ideas of personalized learning, informal learning and problem based learning strategies. I also believe its the combination of these and the integration of aestetic, emotional and cognitive dimensions of learning and creating that provide opportunities.- jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 7, 2014
  • Makerspaces are the merger of old school shop classes with the computer & science labs. Every lesson in a makerspace becomes interdisciplinary. It helps bring the theoretical to life. It is no longer studying DaVinci's flying machine, but being able to replicate it or even improve on it using current knowledge.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 8, 2014- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014

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

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 Maybe, just maybe a mention of how this can fit into an existing curriculum. At our school, many have expressed concern over the standardization of iPad apps. It doesn't mean that every kid has to do the same thing with these apps! A good example is the IB Information Technology in a Global Society's (ITGS) project. The overarching idea is that you're solving a problem using technology. But the different kinds of projects are (virtually) limitless! Same assignment, many possibilities! Of course, as Troy mentioned, this is the perfect way to encourage collaboration. Get kids making their own apps and you have Mobile Apps, Tablet Computing, etc., covered too.
  • - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Jan 30, 2014 I wonder whether something needs to be said about the opportunities that the Maker Movement share with STEM/STEAM Programs.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos~I agree.- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014I agree with that!
  • Yes, makerspaces are not just digital technology based. They can allow for true integration of traditional and digital means of creation thus promoting multimodal learning, interdisciplinarity, and synthesis (maybe this last piece belongs below).- marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Feb 4, 2014
  • As with any social learning concept, I believe there is still a need for defining pedagogical opportunities in this space. By defining a pedagogical strategy we can best influence educational assumptions and practices.- jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 7, 2014
  • The maker movement itself is rooted in constructivist educational concepts. It may be helpful to make the connection so that people get a better understanding of it is not just building things, but learning to build things that is important.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 8, 2014
  • I think that the maker movement (which isn't necessarily technology based) is really showing how informal learning can provide a future direction for formal education. Tapping into the passions and interests of the learner makes for very strong learning opportunities. We want deeper learning, and seems to me that the maker movement could be one path to that goal. - keith.krueger keith.krueger Feb 9, 2014kkrueger 2028612676

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

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 Already covered, I think. One of the areas I get downright giddy about. ;)
  • - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Jan 30, 2014 Impact on teaching: Very non-traditional and will require uniquely talented teachers to make successful change in school culture. Impact on learning: A great way to engage learners but very special opportunity to engage struggling or extreme gifted learners in the same environment. Impact on creative inquiry: A very authentic and true environment for creative inquiry. Teachers often misunderstand creativity and what it really looks like. Creativity is often mistaken for beautiful design and not unique/new/different solutions to problems. Todays teacher often is in an environment where the answer already exists and the solution has already been defined by the curriculum.- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 7, 2014
  • I guess I mentioned this in the first question. This is the perfect way to bring in 21st century skills in practice! To develop a project kids need the content contemplated in the traditional curriculum. Just because they are developing something of their own planning doesn't mean they don't need to learn the basic content. You can't be creative on an empty mind! So I think this model adds value to what is being done! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014
  • I WANT makersspace to be reality in schools, but to be honest I do not see it in the foreseeable future being mainstream. The focus is on Common Core and integrating technology and other things that while we may not see them as innovative and revolutionary, is where many teachers are at. There are teachers doing it, would love to see more of it, but is it the next big thing in education.... - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014One of the biggest gains of instituting a Maker culture in education is the systematization of iteration and finally having the chance to address the importance of failure as a learning strategy.
  • Perhaps makerspaces are not practical for classrooms, but they are definitely popping up in school libraries and public libraries. I see their use as a tremendous opportunity to leverage the resources in these learning sites to support classroom activity. - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Feb 4, 2014 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 10, 2014
  • I agree that makerspaces are not (currently) practical for classrooms. However, making promotes design, exploration, and creativity in an empirical and experimental approach. My opinion is that both the pedagogical process of "teaching" is not well defined (if at all) and the current performance measures fail to consider how to quantify and assess knowlege.- jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 7, 2014
  • While I understand the comments about the common core, I think makerspaces bring differentiated learning to a new level. Gifted students can help lead/teach others in the same lessons and develop additional skills. Once someone takes the time to map out common core to the ability to build/make/collaborate on projects, it will all fall together.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 8, 2014
  • Makerspaces go hand-in-hand with STEM learning, but expand it to far more interdisciplinary possibilities. Perhaps mention of driving Makerspace within STEM labs would alleviate some concerns raised above. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014

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

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