Makerspace: The Big Picture

This is a series I am writing based on questions gathered from a makerspace workshop I ran with educators and administrators. Please feel free to chime in with your own ideas as these posts are designed to get you thinking about your own makerspaces and learning environments.

Essential Questions

How do we move this out of activities and into the way we do business?
How do we know it’s MakerEd and not just crafts?

For me, this is all about actually doing. So often in education we spend countless hours reading, discussing, talking, and planning, but never actually getting to the implementation part. We will never have that perfect moment nor will it ever be the “right time”. The right time is now. Start. It does begin with activities. Start small, but build momentum. We don’t start a fire by tossing in the biggest logs we have. We mix a little paper with kindle and let the flame grow. Over time we add the bigger logs to keep things working for a while. Same thing in education. Easy and cheap activities. Find what works. Find what the kids gravitate towards and how they think and operate. As you experiment yourself you can then start to develop plans to move projects and ideas forward to how we do business. Culture and mindset don’t develop overnight. Anything new or anything that could potentially cause disruption for the ways things have been will come with resistance and question. You have to provide people the space to sample and dabble to slowly build up to scale where you see things going.

If you want this to be the way you conduct business, then you simply must do it. It really is that simple.

Even more importantly, what is wrong with crafts and activities? We cannot lose sight that the goal of makerspaces is NOT to have standards, assessments, and measures of learning like schools currently operate. Yes, it is a problem that makerspaces are taking off because they don’t feel like school BUT don’t ruin the magic of these environments because we don’t have a test score and some spreadsheet documenting every single skill and thing that students do. So many decisions in education are based off spreadsheets that we often lose sight of the child as real breathing thing that is more than a spreadsheet of numbers and conditional formatting.

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2 thoughts on “Makerspace: The Big Picture

  1. It is the implementation that is key not only in education but also in the Business world later on. I like the idea of identifying what school kids gravitate to then tailoring & allowing them space to explore experientially.

  2. I agree. You just have to get started and do something. One of the more important aspects of the maker movement is the idea of rapid prototyping. The project/product is the result of several iterations of design, test, refine. Implementing a makerspace should be no different. Your first draft is never the final draft.