7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces [PDF]

makerspace

Reposted from Educause:

Makerspaces are zones of self-directed learning. Their hands-on character, coupled with the tools and raw materials that support invention, provide the ultimate workshop for the tinkerer and the perfect educational space for individuals who learn best by doing. Interaction among inventors at these facilities fosters a highly collaborative learning dynamic that is excellent for team efforts and for peer support, advice, and assistance. Where these spaces are open to use by faculty, students, and staff from a cross-section of content areas, they promote multidisciplinary thinking and learning, enriching the projects that are built there and the value of the makerspace as an educational venue.

The makerspace gives room and materials for physical learning. Because these spaces can easily be cross-disciplinary, students in many fields can use them, often finding technical help for work they are undertaking in their areas. At the same time, those in engineering and technology will find their work enriched by contributions from those in other fields. Makerspaces allow students to take control of their own learning as they take ownership of projects they have not just designed but defined. At the same time, students often appreciate the hands-on use of emerging technologies and a comfortable acquaintance with the kind of experimentation that leads to a completed project. Where makerspaces exist on campus, they provide a physical laboratory for inquiry-based learning.

One key demand of a makerspace is that it exist as a physical location where participants have room and opportunity for hands-on work, but as these environments evolve, we may see more virtual participation. Video may invite input from remote experts, and teleoperation may enable manipulation of machinery from afar. As makerspaces have become more common on campuses and have found their place in public libraries and community centers, their influence has spread to other disciplines and may one day be embraced across the curriculum. Eventually makerspaces may become linked from campus to campus, encouraging joint project collaboration. Students who use these studios to create tangible portfolio pieces may find their work of interest to future employers. As education assessment evolves, the project work done in makerspaces may one day be accepted and reviewed for college credit in lieu of more conventional coursework.

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