Bringing Makerspaces into Schools
We are constantly bombarded with the idea that the U.S. is "behind" the rest of the world in STEM education, that our students need to be able to think critically, problem-solve and collaborate in order to succeed in the future they will inhabit. (Forget the fact that critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration are part of what schools should be designed to support in the first place.) Makerspaces provide creative time and, well, space for people of all ages to build prototypes, explore questions, fail and retry, bounce ideas off one another and build something together. These spaces don't always include technology, since some prototypes and designs can be built out of anything or may include various stages of design that move from analog to digital and back again, but many do include technology. In the 3D printing and design thinking session, I was lucky enough to see how students might create a 3D design using CAD software, only to discover that their scale was off or that their prototype just plain won't work.
So the big question is: how do we bring these kinds of workspaces into schools so that every child has access to a safe, creative space for exploration?
There are a few different kinds of attempts being made at various schools. Some are creating ad hoc spaces by transforming existing spaces into after-school makerspaces through the use of tubs and other storage containers. This way, materials can be stored away during the school day.
Other schools are integrating aspects of design thinking and playfulness into the curriculum, providing time during the day or during a unit for this kind of free exploration.
Some are bringing makerspaces inside the school walls by creating electives or other special classes dedicated to creative exploration.
Many schools and community groups have used grant money and/or community support to fund the technology, tools and materials used in their makerspaces. Often, local businesses and tech companies are more than happy to contribute to what they consider the engagement and training of future employees.
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Welcome… to a community of people who have a passion for making things, and who want to share that with others by making with others by setting up a Makerspace. This playbook will help you establish a wonderful new resource in your school, neighborhood, or wider local community. It shares the knowledge and experience from the Makerspace team as well as from those who have already started Makerspaces.
Makerspace Playbook - Maker Education Initiative
Our Makerspace Projects on Pinterest
Creating Makerspaces in Schools | Edutopia