Maker Spaces are areas that are set up to allow students to create and work on projects, by trying out solutions to problems, accepting input from others to overcome obstacles, and sharing knowledge with others (“7 things,” 2013). This pedagogy is student centered, project based learning in which students follow their interests and collaborate with others to solve problems. Maker Spaces teach students to be creative and innovative (Goodin, 2013; HRSBOfficial, 2015), by allowing students to create from their imagination. In his TEDx Talk, James Leben (2015) calls Maker Spaces a “gym for your mind” and a great place to pool resources and interact with others.
MakerSpaces have many benefits for students. It makes their learning applicable to the real world by giving students a place to apply the knowledge they’ve gained. (Pearson, 2013). Because they teach students to approach obstacles by taking their first prototype and improving on it (Goodin, 2015), I think it teaches students a valuable mindset—that we don’t give up. When we encounter an obstacle, we find a way around it by talking with others and trying something else. We may encounter failure, but we don’t give up. Above all, we learn from our mistakes.
I was interested to see how elementary schools have adopted MakerSpaces. Some elementary schools have used the library as the Maker area. Howe Community Library (2015) has different making stations set up and allows the students to choose a station after they have chosen their books during their set library time. Michael Wallace Elementary School (2015) incorporated Maker Space as an after school or recess time club. When thinking of trying this in my classroom, I can see an easy way to begin by using the Makerspace idea during Art class. Here I would offer students a variety of materials and allow them to create their own masterpiece. By offering students ownership over their project it seems as if they would be more motivated and take a higher interest in their project.
I can see great benefit in being intentional with planning MakerSpaces in the classroom to allow students to integrate ideas learned across subject matter. This, however, is something that I need to spend more time contemplating on exactly how it would look/work. In our Twitter session yesterday, we discussed the idea of offering “making” as a center during student choice time in the primary grades. I think this would be another great way to bridge the use of making in the classroom. In this way it would still be a student choice over whether they wanted to participate and what they wanted to accomplish. I do think that student choice is central to this pedagogy. I’m very interested to hear how you use/plan to use making in the elementary classroom!
Bruhn, Barbara (2014, Jun 6). Makerspace . Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hcnww3N-vHA
Gcaavideos (2013, Aug 31). Goodin, Andrew: What is a Makerspace? Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NUjR9l6vyE&index=2&list=PLikpSLcGyyJnNCapr0tB3hr_8lkzdxkec
Howe Community Library (2015, Sep). Elementary Makerspaces Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELTTUbJQDa4
HRSBOfficial (2015, Nov 25). MakerSpace at Michael Wallace Elementary School. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fOm6cYuVak
Pearson (2013, Dec 17). How the maker movement inspires kids to learn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjwXTHmVHx8
Tedx Talk (2015, Jul 14. James Leben: Makerspace: Make Community.
Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQnXaShzuHw
7 Things You Should Know About…Makerspaces. Educause. ELI Publications, Apr. 2013. Retreived from link at: https://uasemergtech.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/week-four-what-is-the-pedagogy-behind-a-maker-space/