Makerspaces (What are the implications for teaching and learning? ( Where…
What are the implications for teaching and learning?
Where makerspaces exist on campus, they provide a physical laboratory for inquiry-based learning.
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.
Makerspaces allow students to take control of their own learning as they take ownership of projects they have not just designed but defined.
Those in engineering and technology will find their work enriched by contributions from those in other fields.
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.
The makerspace gives room and materials for physical learning.
Where is it going?
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.
Eventually makerspaces may become linked from campus
to campus, encouraging joint project collaboration.
Their influence has spread to other disciplines and may one day be embraced across the curriculum.
Video may invite input from remote experts, and teleoperation may enable manipulation of machinery from afar.
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.
What are the downsides?
Much of the value of a makerspace lies in its informal character and its appeal to the spirit of invention, and some of this advantage can be negated if well-meaning faculty choreograph student activity to a degree that squelches experimentation.
Some of these machines can be dangerous, too, raising liability issues.
Equipment such as milling machines, welding equipment, lathes, 3D printers, and laser cutters may be in high
demand, which can result in long wait times for students trying to use these facilities.
High-end 3D printers that print with a variety of media can be
expensive. Smaller, more affordable 3D printers generally create only small items.
Space in learning facilities is often at a premium, and cost is a consideration in setting up an area for making.
Why is it significant?
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.
Interaction among inventors at these facilities fosters a highly collaborative learning dynamic.
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.
Makerspaces are zones of self-directed learning.
Who's doing it?
Colleges and universities have also been quick to recognize the value of the makerspace as a learning opportunity.
Members see sharing and learning skills as a key purpose of
their makerspace, resulting in a dynamic studio environment
that builds member projects.
The makerspace emerged initially as a powerful
learning force in the nonacademic community. One member-supported effort that reflects that origin is the Milwaukee
Makerspace, which invites the public to attend meetings.
How does it work?
Used by students, faculty, and staff, makerspaces have become arenas for informal, project-driven, self-directed learning, providing workspace to tinker, try out solutions, and hear input from colleagues with similar interests.
As the notion of providing space for project design and construction has caught on in education, such places have acquired other accoutrements, from paints and easels and impromptu stage sets to cooktops and candy molds.
Many of them are still primarily places for technological experimentation, hardware development, and idea prototyping.
What is it?
On campus, the makerspace is being embraced by the arts as well as the sciences.
They provide tools and space in a community environment
It is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build.