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?

  • Some schools are transforming existing spaces in makerspaces, others are integrating making and tinkering into the curriculum. Some are creating specific electives focused on making.- cpaterso cpaterso Feb 6, 2015
  • co-curricula programs for graduate skills/employability as well as curriculum integration - slambert slambert Feb 26, 2015
  • Libraries could continue to evolve in a number of ways, 3D printing services, MakerSpacers.- geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Feb 27, 2015 I agree with Geoffrey Libraries are very active in these spaces. Providing spaces where students across disciplines can collaborate on projects. Maker spaces provide the idea co-creation spaces for this to occur. - ktairi ktairi Mar 1, 2015
  • - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 28, 2015 I'd like to see curriculum itself - in appropriate subjects - transformed into what are essentially makerspaces.

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

  • Making and tinkering tend to be linked to STEM subjects but this does not have to be the case. 3D printers can recreate replica models of, say, the Berlin Wall, for a History class.- cpaterso cpaterso Feb 6, 2015
  • The inter-disciplinary potential of makerspaces is important ... in the wild they are formed around a shared passion and project work (and access to otherwise specialist or expensive equipment like printers, cutters), rather than tied to a curriculum or discipline. This has interesting challenges -- and opportunities -- for institutions - David.Cameron David.Cameron Feb 9, 2015 - ktairi ktairi Mar 1, 2015 I agree there is great potential for Faculties/disciplines to create these space together so they can be used my the many. A better return on investment.

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

  • Maker education inspires deeper learning and is based on student ownership of their learning. It fosters curiosity and tinkering, which can lead to better better questioning. The learning environment fosters enthusiasm for learning, confidence, and collaboration. Maker education leads to determination, problem-solving, and real-world challenges.- cpaterso cpaterso Feb 6, 2015
  • Team based and project based learning potential of these spaces - ktairi ktairi Mar 1, 2015 opportunities to play with new technologies and look at their application across disciplines - public libraries very active in the maker movements

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

  • Professor Mills Kelly at George Mason University is doing some very interesting things with making and the history classroom, including replicating historical graffitti and having students build a model of the Berlin Wall and then demolish it.
  • The Agency By Design project at Harvard's Project Zero is examining making in conjunction with design thinking, systems thinking, and student agency. It is a fascinating project.
  • Unfortunately both of the above are US examples. - cpaterso cpaterso Feb 6, 2015
  • University of Wollongong has been talking about a Student Media Hub (but really meaning a Makerspace) for a couple of years and employed somebody to do a 12 month planning/feasability study including wide consultation. I believe the project has made it into the 2015 Strategic Plan but I will have to double-check project timelines and scope, nothing on the public website yet - slambert slambert Feb 26, 2015
so not much in Oz then...mmm, hey cant we really do something on this- can it be so hard? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 27, 2015

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