How to create a 'Maker' space at your school

Maker space

What is a 'Maker' space?

'Maker' spaces are zones of self-directed learning. 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. Interaction among inventors at these facilities fosters a highly collaborative learning dynamic that is excellent for team efforts and for peer support, advice, and assistance. 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 'Maker' space as an educational venue.

'Maker' spaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a 'maker' space. Rather, we define it by what it enables: 'making'.'Maker space Playbook: School Education Maker

'Maker' spaces are learning environments rich with possibilities, 'Maker' spaces serve as gathering points where communities of new and experienced 'makers' connect to work on real and personally meaningful projects, informed by helpful mentors and expertise, using new technologies and traditional tools.

'Maker' spaces in schools have evolved into three broad categories:

  • Dedicated 'maker' spaces allow for the concentration of specialised materials, tools and equipment in a central location and can be accessed by everyone in the school. Schools are creating dedicated makerspaces by making over under-utilised library spaces and existing art, woodwork, metalwork and textiles studios. Some schools are creating a purpose built facility from scratch.
  • Distributed 'maker' spaces are found in many places within a school but can be accessed by students as needed. Each classroom has an assortment of materials and tools but specialised tools are found different learning areas and community facilities. Eg 3D printers are available in the library, sewing machines are housed in the textiles centre and a community radio station / video studio is available for students to use.
  • Mobile mini 'maker' spaces can be developed using boxes of equipment, tools and materials housed on a trolley or in a mobile cabinet. Less commonly a mobile maker space can be developed for a region or state in a vehicle that travels from school to school.
  •      Resources

    What do you need to create a 'Maker' space at your school?

    • Checklist for 'Maker' Space - use this 'Maker' Space Shopping List as a reference when setting up your school's 'Maker' space. The list contains Electronic Parts and Tools, Computers Software and Cameras, Craft and Art Supplies, Building Materials, Junk to be deconstructed and recycled and some Additional Items for a Maker Space.
    • Additional Items for a Maker Space - this list provides information on digital technologies that can be used in your school's 'Maker' space.
    • Toying with Makerspaces - this presentation provides information on digital technologies available and where you can find them for your school's 'Maker' space.
    • Making a Mini Makerspace - this list provides information on making a mini Maker space including a shopping list and tips.

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