Setting up a Makerspace at Your School
What is a Makerspace?
The Open Education Database (OEDB) defines a Makerspace as: “Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.” Makerspaces are powerful in that they engage students through practical and exploratory learning.
Get a free playbook
Where do I start? Start with a playbook: http://makered.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Youth-Makerspace-Playbook_FINAL.pdf.
The Youth Makerspace Playbook is a resource providing context and support around planning spaces for youth to make. It offers practical suggestions on finding spaces to make, outfitting spaces with tools and materials, exploring the possible educational approaches within spaces, and sustaining spaces in the long-term. From the preface: “Welcome to the Youth Makerspace Playbook! Our goal is to help guide and inspire you in crafting spaces that are reflections of everyone in your community, especially the youth who will be benefiting from them (throughout this book, “youth” refers to children of all ages). We hope these pages will be a catalyst for your explorations, internet searches, and further reading.”
Resources for Educators
Maker Ed is a non-profit organization that supports and empowers educators and communities — particularly, those in underserved areas — to facilitate meaningful making and learning experiences with youth. Their website, makered.org, is a website specifically geared toward educators and Makerspaces. Maker Ed’s online Resource Library (makered.org/resources/) contains links to third-party organizations, companies, and commercial products. By including these resources, Maker Ed intends to highlight their potential value to the maker education community, rather than to provide an endorsement. The library is independently managed by Maker Ed staff, who adhere to a set of guidelines to ensure that all third-party resources are primarily informational, rather than promotional, in nature.
High School Makerspace Planning
If you are looking for a high school makerspace planning document, be sure to check out Makerspace’s High School Makerspace Tools & Materials (http://spaces.makerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/hsmakerspacetoolsmaterials-201204.pdf). This 34 page document is a bit dated in terms of pricing (it’s from 2012 and makerspaces are getting cheaper to set up every year), but it is great in terms of space planning, layout and what to include.
A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces
Librarians seem to be leading the charge in many schools when setting up makerspaces. OEDB has a great resource list to help you get your makerspace going titled “A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources” (http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/a-librarians-guide-to-makerspaces/).
Resolved: Our School is getting a Makerspace in early 2017!
Consider adding a Makerspace to your school or classroom as one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. Adding elements of an age appropriate makerspace to any curriculum is easy. Ask for donations from parents and local businesses. Your makerspace activities will keep your students more engaged. And when students are more engaged, the quality of their learning experience skyrockets!
About the Author
Bill Franklin, the CEO of Internet4Classrooms, is our guest blogger this month. He has been on the faculty at The George Washington University, was a career Army Special Operations officer and also coaches in the Collier County school system.