Unit 1: Scope and Rationale
This unit introduces future maker leaders to a wide range of informal after-school technology programs, where makerspaces fit in the big picture, and the educational rationale for having a makerspace in the first place.
Scope of Makerspaces
These resources will help future maker leaders understand the difference between makerspaces, hacker spaces, fab labs, tech shops, robotics clubs, computer clubhouses, and other popular after-school models, and which environments may be most appropriate for a given setting. Both physically-sited and online maker communities are listed to explore and better understand what happens in makerspaces.
Watch: What is a Makerspace
Watch: Playlist of 12 TED Videos on Maker/Hackerspaces
Watch: Decatur Makers Kickstarter Promo
Watch: MakerSpaces in Albermarle Schools
- Online Article: Is it a hackerspace, makerspace, tech shop, or fab lab? Makezine. While some people use these terms interchangeably, this author takes the stance that they are indeed very different and provides a historical view of the origins of each space and who they are intended to serve.
- Online Article: Does this count as making? ISTE. This blog entry reflects on a meeting of 30 persons involved in making from various settings (universities, libraries, museums, informal educators) as they attempted to define "making." While a definition was elusive, the group agreed that making generally involves: "collaboration, skill sharing, flexibility of novice/expert roles, creativity, resourcefulness, relevance, and self-motivated experiences."
- Online Article: The philosophy of educational makerspaces: Part 1 of making an educational makerspace, Teacher Librarian. This article cites some underlying principles of makerspaces such as encouraging curiosity, wonder, and play, and teaching students it's okay to fail and to collaborate.
- Online Article, The makings of maker spaces, part 1: Space for creation, not just consumption, The Digital Shift. This article notes the emergence of makerspaces in public libraries and highlights some of the core principles of these spaces (invites play, encourages peer collaboration, focuses on creating, benefits from accessible skills that students already have rather than overwhelming them with technical skills they can't yet manage). The article highlights a couple of library-based makerspaces and the equipment they purchased to get started.
- PDF White Paper, A movement in the making, Deloitte University Press. This paper discusses some of the driving forces behind the maker movement, including cheap technology, open source hardware and software, and globalization, all "blurring the boundaries between consumers and creators." A maker ecosystem is proposed consisting of three groups of people, "zero to maker" beginners, "maker to maker" collaborators, and "maker to market" innovators, with examples provided of each group.
- PDF Article: Makerspaces in libraries, education, and beyond, Internet at Schools. This article provides definitions of makerspaces, a description of common elements (tool and resource sharing, collaboration, open project space), and testimonials. Two types of maker activities are highlighted: 3D printing and lego-based robotics.
- PDF Article: 7 things you should know about makerspaces, Educause Learning Initiative. This article cites some common elements of makerspaces such as physically-sited, open, both scheduled and unscheduled activity, self-directed, and student-driven.
Physically-Sited Maker Communities:
- Young Makers Clubs, http://www.youngmakers.org/
- Makerspace Meetup Groups in Different Areas, http://makerspaces.meetup.com/
- MzTek Women's Maker Group in London, http://www.mztek.org/
- Maker Guilds, http://www.makerguild.org/start-a-guild/
- List of Makerspaces in North Carolina, http://uncg.libguides.com/toolkit/make
Online Maker Communities:
- Maker Camp, http://makercamp.com/ (individuals can access the camp and virtual field trips via Google Plus and host local camps in their neighborhood or town)
- #MakerEd Chats, every Tuesday on Twitter at 9pm (EST)
- MIT's Learning Creative Learning Community, http://learn.media.mit.edu/lcl/ (great set of active discussion boards exploring topics like inspiring play, passion, and peer learning)
- Makerspace Community, http://makerspace.com/
- Network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts, and Design (SEAD), http://sead.viz.tamu.edu/about/index.html
Professional Development Activities for this Section on Scope:
- Do: As suggested in the Makerspace Playbook (pages 22-23), draft your own "maker manifesto" in the form of a virtual flyer. What principles, beliefs, or tenets will you promote in your makerspace? Suggested tools for this activity: see "6 great tools to create educational flyers and posters for your class," or use standard flipcharts in a face-to-face workshop.
- Do: Draft your "ecosystem sketch" to explain your current understanding of after-school technology environments. Update the sketch as you learn more. Here's a sample sketch prepared with Prezi, https://prezi.com/-ckpeyixl4s1/the-wide-w-i-d-e-world-of-after-school-technology-environments/
- Discuss: What common themes are found across different manifestos or ecosystems? Can the group come to some consensus?
- Do: As a group, sign up for some of the different online maker communities noted above. Spend some time exploring, and regroup to share project ideas and best practices.
- Discuss: Brainstorm project ideas that fit in makerspaces, hackerspaces, fab labs, and tech shops. Suggested tools for this activity: Padlet, Stormboard, or flip charts in a face-to-face workshop.
Historical and Philosophical Underpinnings
These resources will help future maker leaders understand some of the historical and philosophical underpinnings of makerspaces to more effectively communicate their purpose and value, including Montessori/Petalozzi schools, Dewey’s progressive education, Piaget's constructivist learning, Papert’s constructionist learning, and Kolb's experiential learning.
- Online Article: The maker movement: Standing on the shoulders of giants to own the future, Edutopia. This article cites historical influences on the maker movement, including: Piaget's constructivist theory, Papert's related constructionist theory, and schools based on Pestalozzi's and Montessori's ideas.
- Online Article: How the maker movement is moving into classrooms, Edutopia. This article cites Piaget and Papert in providing a rationale for the maker movement, and provides an overview of the origins and variations of the movement, along with many embedded links to explore.
- Book Chapter: Digital media and technology afterschool: Extended, enriched, and intentional learning (pp. 21-35), Macarthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. This article categorizes after-school programming into three categories with extended learning referring to programs aligned with national standards such as STEM and 21st century learning (e.g., robotics competitions), enriched learning referring to programs that support more interest-driven learning (e.g., computer clubhouses, makerspaces), and intentional learning referring to specialized media development programs targeting specific youth and social change.
- Online Article: Progressive education, Vermont's John Dewey Project. This short article introduces the progressive education movement led by John Dewey with principles that closely match the makerspace mindset, such as allowing students to explore their own interests and collaborating around the common good.
- Book Chapter: Roots of afterschool programs, libraries, and museums: Progressive era reforms and youth development (pp. 5-9), Macarthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. This section of the book discusses Dewey's Progressive Education movement and its influence on the after school movement in America.
- Online Article: Situating constructionism, Papert & Harel. Makerspaces are commonly associated with constructionist learning theory, which Papert and Harel describe in this introduction to their book of the same name with several examples of making in the schools.
- Online Article, Three makerspace models that work, American Libraries. While not its primary emphasis, this article does include a brief appended "timeline" of making with an emphasis on arts and crafts communities in the northeast and midwest United States.
- Book Chapter: The process of experiential learning, Kolb.
Professional Development Activities for this Section on History/Philosophy:
- Discuss: Share a prior experience you had with experiential learning and note where you had it (in school? after school? not related to school at all?)? What did you learn from this experience? Did the quality of learning differ from traditional learning? Suggested tools for this activity: Padlet, Stormboard, or small group discussion.
- Discuss: Break into jigsaw cooperative learning groups of five and assign each person a movement or theory to read about using resources posted in this toolkit. Individuals should summarize key ideas from their assigned movement/theory that can be applied to makerspaces and share when their cooperative learning group reconvenes. A recorder should note where overlap between movements/theories is found on paper/flipchart.
- Do: The Internet is full of quotes from educators whose schools, theories, and principles align with the maker movement. Print some quotes on cards and distribute to attendees at a professional development event. Based on their quote, have each person suggest an actionable step or strategy that can be enacted in a makerspace. In lieu of this group activity, you could also begin each professional development session in this toolkit with a single quote as an ice breaker discussion and lead-in to that day's training.