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Makerspaces in Schools
Transcript of Makerspaces in Schools
Frequently used products are:
... but the exact tools are not important (Makerspaces Australia, 2014).
What's important is creating a stimulating environment where students enjoy spending time playing with tech toys and being able to follow their own passions to create something unique.
Different types of makerspaces:
Well-equipped permanent spaces in libraries or spare classrooms
Mini-makerspace in the corner of a classroom
Mobile makerspace hired by a school as an incursion
Borrowed makerspaces in a box
Temporary displays of technological equipment provided for student-led tinkering
One-off festivals offering a range of workshops, activities and displays
WHAT IS A MAKERSPACE?
It's a community space with a range of technology-based tools that can be shared to make and create self-driven projects (Makerspaces Australia, 2014).
They aim to inspire informal project-driven, self-directed learning through tinkering, experimentation and hands-on exploration (Educause, 2013).
Also known as hackerspaces or hacklabs outside of an education context.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN ...
Makerspaces are an evolution of the 'maker movement' or 'maker culture' (Charles Sturt University, 2014).
There have been many influences on their formation:
First hackerspaces were German, formed during the 1990s and numbering less than a dozen (Wikipedia Foundation, 2014).
"Make" magazine and blog began publication in 2005, providing inspiration and DIY electronics projects to a world-wide audience (Wikipedia & Make Magazine, 2014). "Make" is considered central to the maker movement.
The Hackerspaces.org community was formed in 2007, leading to an increased popularity of hackerspaces with an estimated 700 to 1100 active sites worldwide by 2012 (Wikipedia Foundation, 2014).
"Make Magazine" and its founder, Dale Dougherty, registered makerspace.com in 2011 and began using the term 'makerspace' in reference to publicly accessible creative spaces (Make & Cavalcanti, 2013).
Maker Education Initiative launched in the US in 2012, with founding sponsors including Maker Media, Cognizant, Intel, and Pixar Animation Studios (Maker Education Initiative, 2014). Their mission is to give all young people opportunities to develop confidence and interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through making.
What Does a Makerspace Look Like?
St Joachim’s School in Brisbane obtained resources from ResourceLink to host an Invent To Learn Maker Faire workshop (Brisbane Catholic Education, 2013).
St Columba Anglican School in Port Macquarie, NSW is reported to have the first permanent school Australian makerspace (Langdon, 2014).
Melbourne High School offers temporary makerspaces to their students, organised by the school library (Melbourne High School Library, 2014).
Motion sensor :)
Aims of Makerspaces
The program is aimed at students in upper primary to high school, but could also be facilitated for younger students. Circuitry products such as littleBits are easy to use and well suited to younger students as an introduction to electronics (Wilkinson, 2014).
Makerspaces have many potential educational and developmental benefits for their users:
learning through experimental play
intrinsic motivation of self-directed projects
inclusion of STEAM content in project development
development of growth mindset through persistance and creativity
increasingly challenging projects
collaborative and community-oriented environment (Makerspace, 2013)
Students tinkering with Arduino (Tabletop Inventing Inc, 2013).
Ideally students will create a finished object, often using design principles and prototyping. They can then showcase the result of their hard work to a wider audience.
Completed projects are often quite unique, providing an interesting basis for exhibition-style events. Events can range from class-based exhibition evenings to more extravagant affairs such as Mini-Maker Faires. Maker Faires create a festival atmosphere and are all about celebrating a do-it-yourself (DIY) culture, featuring workshops and displays of projects that combine genres such as arts, science, technology and music (Makerspace, 2013).
A space for making
An outdated computer lab
HOW IS IT INNOVATIVE?
Makerspaces follow a contructivist approach using hands-on learning methods, with teacher as facilitator of acquisition of knowledge instead of instructor (Kurti, Kurti & Fleming, 2014).
Roles of teacher and learner may be reversed, with students possessing in-depth knowledge on topics of personal interest.
They use cutting-edge technology such as 3D printers, computers, tablets and other specialist equipment, but can also be set up with cheap and easily accessible objects such as simple electronic circuits and tools, old circuit boards.
Learning is often through failure and iteration, teaching problem solving skills at a practical and personal level.
Why is it innovative?
Makerspace education is still a relatively new practice within the education sector.
A makerspace is set up to inspire experimentation, discovery, innovation, design and invention.
Learning is subtly guided by teachers and mentors along with the provision of tools, while allowing freedom for students to make discoveries and create.
They are multi-disciplinary, with an emphasis on science, maths, technology, art and literacy.
Links can be formed within the community through utilising external expertise.
Experiments with Squishy Circuits (Duran & Bay Area News Groups, 2014).
When literacy and technology meet ...
This clip serves to illustrate how makerspaces can provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary projects. Students produced unique 3D-printed bugs, then developed imaginative stop-motion videos based on their creations (Mad Scientist, 2014).
Connor's Bug Video (Barnett, 2013)
Makerspaces and the australian curriculum
The Design, Creativity and Technology component of AUSVELS states that an understanding of this area leads to innovative ideas (Education Service Australia, ACARA & State Government of Victoria, 2014). At Level 6 students are expected to be able to produce functional systems and/or products using a production plan, while safely working with tools and technology. Makerspaces provide a learning environment that encourages and allows students to achieve these outcomes.
Makerspaces also develop skills within the general capability of Critical and Creative Thinking, giving students opportunities to generate and evaluate knowledge, seek possibilities and solve problems (Australian Curriculum, 2014).
Due to the design and technology basis of makerspaces, students may increase interest and knowledge in STEAM subjects. The project-based nature also allows inclusion of other disciplines such as literacy.
What increases student engagement?
A high quality learning environment;
Tasks that are challenging, yet achievable;
Progressive development of competency;
Positive relationship with the teacher;
Receiving attention from the teacher;
Purposeful learning (MacDonald, 2013).
Measure of student engagement includes enjoyment, concentration and interest.
Learning Through Play
Play is fun and unconstrained allowing the children freedom to explore new ideas, experiment and overcome failures. Adult-guided play provides scaffolding for developing skills, also increasing learning outcomes through increased social interactions (Weisberg, Zosh, Hirsch-Pasek & Golinkoff, 2013).
Liu, Lin, Liou, Feng and Hou (2013) found that when using a parallel student-teacher play model, the student shared ideas with the teacher, felt confident in correcting design flaws and developed successful robots.
Managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that their most successful engineers had tinkered and played as children, including making carts, pulling apart clocks, and repairing appliances (Brown, 2009, as cited in Makerspace, 2013). They argue that play must be brought back into schools then innovation and creativity will return to education.
“The power of Maker Education can only be unlocked by constructivist educators and technical experts working together to inspire authentic learning. Keeping students engaged and curious, this combination of expert educators, technical knowledge, and powerful tools reinforces deeper learning, natural strengths, and collaborative strategies.”
(Mad Scientist, 2014)
A makerspace can do all of these things through encouraging students to independently explore ideas in a way they may never have thought of before. With quality tools and inspiring mentors, students are responsible for setting individual learning goals that will result in the completion of a self-determined product. By sharing knowledge, experiences and tools with each other, positive relationships are built with peers and teachers in the makerspace community.
Purchase basic tools within budget
Request donations of equipment
Hire time on expensive equipment
Share equipment within school or with local businesses
Equipment such as 3D printers and robotic components, although increasingly affordable, are still expensive.
Request experienced volunteers from local community or relevant businesses
After time liaising with experts and makers students can become the experts
Start with simple equipment and projects and increase complexity, modelling good learning practices to students
Websites and YouTube provide resources that enable teacher and student to learn together
Most teachers will lack enough experience with circuitry, robotics and programming to be a mentor to students.
Students may become disheartented by unsuccessful projects or inventions
Failure and overcoming these failures is part of what makes a Makerspace so dynamic, inspiring brilliant solutions (Kurti et al, 2014).
Encourage students to see failures as hiccups in the design process rather than the end of a failed design.
The teacher is a key element of the makerspace ...
(Keep Austin Weird Homes, 2014)
(Eagleeye & Boyer, 2013)