Recently I read the book Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School by Laura Fleming. This is a book that is part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series where each book is a short read about a specific topic. In this case, the book was about Makerspaces. This book provides a nice overview of makerspaces and the importance of establishing one in your school.
If you are looking for a how to guide on what to buy and how to build a space, then this is not the book for you. It does provide you a basic understanding of things, but it is not a step by step guide. There are plenty of resources that address that very topic. What this book does provide is the general context for planning and creating the culture needed for a makerspace to thrive. What this book does so well is hit on the most important idea of any makerspace – Your makerspace should be built with your own personal touch and less worry and focus on tech.
The book hit on many key ideas that I firmly believe in as a maker and educator. When I read the book I felt like I was receiving confirmation after confirmation about my own beliefs.
She emphasizes that makerspaces can help encourage the growth mindset, they can help students work through failure and prototypes, and that the process of making is what allows success and innovation to take place.
At the end of the day, a makerspace that is running smoothly should hit upon the 4 C’s and all the essential skills we expect out of our 21st century learners.
I really enjoyed the focus on collaboration. There is still a major tendency to think of makers in isolation and by themselves. Makerspaces are where we share our knowledge, our mistakes, our journey. Students can be teachers and teachers can be students.
Take the advice of the book
Take what you can get
Prepackaged is easy, but not authentic
Space should grown organically
Inspire play, tinkering, and learning through both fixed and flexible stations
Establish a culture of innovation
And most important – a makerspace is more than just a room.
Read the book. I wish it was longer, but being this short makes it a quick read for teachers who are limited in time. It is a great resource and starting point for anyone looking to get started.