The pedagogy behind a Maker Space is to provide a collaborative space or spaces that allow students to have self-directed, hands-on exploring, designing, building, experimenting, and learning. I believe that the space should not be just for students but also for staff, faculty, parents, and community members. According to an article on Educase, “makerspaces have become arenas for informal, project-driven, self-directed learning, providing workspace to tinker, try out solutions, and hear input from colleagues with similar interests” (Educause, 2012). So, to sum it up, it’s a safe place to put your ideas to the test.
When I think of a makerspace and what I would like it to look like in my school, I think that I would want to start small and expand over time. I would like to start in our school’s large and open art and science room. There are several worktables that would allow students to work with different materials. I would love to see a robotics group, a clay making group, and a “if you build it, it is art” group. The supplies they could use would encompass many different items. As Stager wrote, “Best of all, you don’t need expensive hardware, or to start by mastering a programming language. You can begin with found materials: buttons, bottle caps, string, clay, construction paper, broken toys, popsicle sticks, or tape (hint: Google “tapigami” or “duck tape projects”). Reusing materials is consistent with kids’ passion for environmentalism and is an ideal of the maker movement” (Stager, 2014). I am sure I could get parent and community volunteers to come in and “make” with the students after school.
It might be a good idea to start with a classroom makerspace and then expand it into an after school club that is open to all ages. I can see that a makerspace club would be very popular; therefore, it would need to be well thought out and planned. Of course, funding can also be an issue, so I would have to see if I can get materials donated and have many volunteers. I believe that it would not be long before I would need to expand. As Cooper noted, “Some schools have chosen to incorporate makerspaces within multiple classroom spaces. This works well for many activities, particularly in elementary schools. As maker activities expand to require more tools, it makes more sense to create a dedicated makerspace that includes appropriate tools, work areas and materials” (Cooper, 2014). The payoff is the excitement about learning that makerspaces generate. I envision parents and teachers working next to students building positive learning relationships while exchanging ideas and encouraging exploration.
Cooper, J. (2014, September 30). Designing a School Makerspace. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/designing-a-school-makerspace-jennifer-cooper
Educause. (2012, February 7). 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms. Retrieved June 2, 2015, from Educause: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf
Stager, G. (2014, Winter). What’s the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care? Retrieved June 9, 2015, from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3758336