“Through maker education, youth develop new perspectives, a belief in their own abilities, and a passion for learning” (MakerEd.org, FAQ).
For over a decade, the “maker movement” has been gaining speed and passionate followers. Some adherents pay membership fees for exclusive access to facilities, while others utilize public libraries, university labs, or K-12 school set ups. Others put creative juice to work in fab labs or tech incubators. Why?
The United States and the UK and its colonies became unarguable world leaders with the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s and first half of the Twentieth Century. The UK and USA are now considered to be post-industrial and receive most of their power from idea generation. As Asia now gains considerable economic force, the Western world is seeking out new means of influence. Our students continue to score lower than Asian and Scandinavian pupils, primarily due to two factors: one, countries outside of the USA tend to supply scores only for the students who are enrolled in school, not all students as in the USA’s mandated public school system; two, the American and English school systems are still based upon Imperialism’s model of education, where math and communication are focused, instead of vocational skills, creativity, and non-sequential thinking. So what does this have to do with makerspaces?
The USA loses economic and social standing every day in the global market. Makerspaces are a mode of improving creativity, subsequently idea marketing, and therefore fiscal results unique American products. Our nation’s 21st Century Learning Standards address the lack of non-conformist thinking in our education system, and individuals and grassroot organizations continue to search for ways to revitalize individuals and our national economy. Welcome, makerspaces!
People and groups with vested interests in the USA, its youth, and its future laud the growth and use of makerspaces. A massive boom in makerspaces has blossomed for over ten years, and the trend is not slowing down.
If your school or library has yet to embrace the “maker movement,” this blog may help you to launch a new creative effort in your school.
What Is a Makerspace?
Makerspaces go by a number of names, including tech labs, hackerspaces, and idea centers. The primary function of a makerspace is to provide an environment where people can meet, create products of any sort, share ingenuity, and problem solve. For more definitions, visit Diana Redina’s post “Defining Makerspaces” at http://renovatedlearning.com/2015/04/02/defining-makerspaces-part-1/.
Why a Makerspace?
Making helps “educators with moving towards a more comprehensive educational approach that better reflects and incorporates the diverse, complex, and ever-changing nature of our world” (MakerEd.org, FAQ). At this point in time, the American education system is locked into a model of four core subjects (reading, writing, mathematics, and science) that has federally and state mandated standards of instruction. These standards have left increasingly smaller amounts of instructional time for creative endeavors, so libraries and nontraditional academic organizations are now offering makerspaces as zones for creating, building, and problem solving. One student, Julian Waters, presented at the “Maker Education Initiative” on Sept. 30, 2016 on the importance of making in K-12 education, especially with its contribution to the American standards- and performance-based model. Check out his persuasive speech at https://www.facebook.com/MakerEducationInitiative/videos/748846661914154/.
If you are ready to launch a new creation area in your school or library, but aren’t sure how to sway administrators or financiers, check out Jessica Schipp’s blog “Making (in School): A Letter of Recommendation” and MakerEd.org.
FAQ. MakerEd.org. Retrieved from http://makered.org/frequently-asked-questions/
Redina, Diana. (2015). Defining Makerspaces: What the Research Says. Renovated Learning. April 2, 2015. http://renovatedlearning.com/2015/04/02/defining-makerspaces-part-1/
Schipp, J. (2014). Making (in School): A Letter of Recommendation. Retrieved from http://lighthousecreativitylab.org/2014/09/making-in-school-a-letter-of-recommendation/
Waters, J. (2016). NYSci conference speech. Presented on Sept. 30, 2016. Retrieved from