Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?
MakerSpace is a community where you can share your do-it-yourself DIY process, search for inspiration, and connect with fellow makers. The DIY environment is gaining momentum in our schools and more recently in local libraries. Libraries have more space and can be more flexible than schools. They are even attracting more teens with their programs (2kqed.org).
“Maker classrooms are active classrooms. In active classrooms one will find engaged students, often working on multiple projects simultaneously, and teachers unafraid of relinquishing their authoritarian role. Collaboration between students is flexible and teachers experience a seamless metamorphosis between mentor, student, colleague, expert, and personal shopper, all in service of their learners” (scholastic).
Some of the benefits of a MakerSpace are:
- They promote learning through play and experimentation.
- They’re cross-disciplinary, with elements of art, science and craftsmanship.
- They offer tools and materials that encourage students to create rather than consume.
For too long, schools have undervalued learning with one’s hands. Modernity, as exemplified by the maker movement requires us to value learning with the head, heart, and hands equally. Eleanor Duckworth reminds us, “If materials are slim, the only questions likely to be posed are the teacher’s.”
Educators should honor and nurture many forms of expression; students may demonstrate understanding of an assignment with a presentation, a written paper, a video, a shoe-box diorama, a programmable robot, or a Yugoslavian folk dance. The tools used are a whole lot less important than what is produced and the intellectual processes employed.
Three categories of game-changing technologies can help advance making today: fabrication, physical computing, and computer programming. Experiments can test how these new technologies mix with more ordinary materials and craft traditions to supercharge project-based learning.
Until recently, what you made on a computer could reside only on the screen or on paper. Now children can design physical objects with the computer. Some adults may be irrationally exuberant about 3D printing without regard for the fact that the real thinking is in the design of the object that’s created by the machine.
Physical computing is the adding of interactivity and intelligence to everyday objects or materials, including paper, cloth, wood, or plastic. Hobbyists and professionals alike use popular open-source microcontrollers such as Arduino to create machines capable of interacting with the world. The Lilypad and Flora versions of Arduino are machine-washable microcontrollers that use circuits sewn with conductive thread to create wearable computers. Imagine a sweatshirt with directional signals on the back, a backpack that detects intruders, or a necklace that lights up when you approach your favorite class (scholastic).
How to build a MarkeSpace:
Step 1: Secure some space.
It doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t even need to be large. At The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, girls tinker at “Innovation Stations” that are tucked into hallways and the corners of classrooms, said technology director Lisa Abel-Palmieri.
Step 2: Put stuff in it.
3D printers, Arduinos and agile furniture are great if you can afford them, but they don’t necessarily define a makerspace. Instead, start with what you have and let it grow organically.
Step 3: Invite kids to play.
Sure, you can develop a curriculum for your makerspace. Sometimes it’s helpful to give students a starting point, especially if they’re new to the concept of tinkering in school. But it’s just as valuable, if not more so, to let them explore on their own, Dougherty said.
Want to Start a Makerspace at School? Tips to Get Started. Catalano, Frank. Feb 12, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2016 from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/02/12/want-to-start-a-makerspace-at-school-tips-to-get-started/
What’s the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care? Stager, Gary. N.d. Retrieved June 8, 2016 from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3758336&nt_id=4&url=http://store.scholastic.com/Books/Hardcovers/Harry-Potter-and-the-Chamber-of-Secrets-The-Illustrated-Edition-Book-2?eml=SSO/aff/20160429/21181/banner/EE/affiliate/////2-247765/&affiliate_id=21181&click_id=1642695313
Create a school makerspace in 3 simple steps. Krueger, Nicole. June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2016 from https://www.iste.org/explore/ArticleDetail?articleid=103