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Makerspaces in Schools
posted by: Melissa | October 16, 2014, 04:45 PM   


If one thing has become clear in the 21st century, it’s that technology and engineering can no longer be ignored in the K-12 sphere.  The best way to equip students for future technological challenges is still being hotly debated, but some schools think that they’ve found the answer in the creation of “makerspaces.”


Makerspaces have been around for several years.  Associated with Make magazine and the maker culture, Makerspaces are places that offer tools, resources, and networking opportunities for people who want to take go beyond just learning about technology and create it.  These are places where makers, as people in the culture call themselves, get together to create and build.


Many schools have seen the possibilities in having such spaces for their students.  It’s a rare opportunity that allows both creativity and advanced STEM understanding to flourish at the same time.  Having an in-school makerspace not only gives students an opportunity to experiment with robotics and 3D printing, but also allows these skills to be incorporated into the curriculum as a whole.


What sets a makerspace apart from an art studio, computer lab, or woodshop already found in most schools is the wide variety of equipment found in it.  A makerspace includes tools from all of those other, already familiar spaces and intertwines subjects that have been kept separate for so long.  For ages, educators have talked about the need for cross-curricular education, and a makerspace is one of those rare organisms where this happens naturally.


The benefits of giving students access to such a rich environment extend beyond what they do while creating and building in the makerspace itself.  Teachers in schools where this has been implemented report that students gain confidence in their own abilities and become more engaged in their other subjects, too.


If you’re interested in creating a makerspace for your school, check out this great article from Edutopia on how to get one organized and this list of handy tips from Mind/Shift.

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