Have you ever dreamed of making your invention ideas a reality? Perhaps you believe that you aren’t creative? The Maker Movement is a grass roots drive that encourages people of all ages to explore the DIY culture of fixing, improving and creating.
The primary promoter of the Maker Movement is Dale Dougherty; when he launched Make Magazine in 2005 he sparked a worldwide Maker Movement. The marriage of technology with craft appeals to all ages.
It is a place for everyone, creative and not creative, to come and explore their passions using raw materials, tools, technology, repurposed items and imagination. People can work individually or collaboratively, using technology and/or drawing on the collective wisdom of those in the room to help achieve their goal in a Maker Space.
Who is found in a
Students, boys and girls, are drawn in to the Maker Space experience. In a school learning environment teacher-librarians, teachers, custodians, and administrators and can staff the maker space.
The purpose of the adults in the Maker Space is to provide open access to knowledgeable people who may help students discover ways to solve design challenges. Schools may choose to budget for a full time teacher to be present in the Maker Space at all times. Expert volunteers may act as facilitators for a specific skill set, such as electrical or soldering work, or as coaches who encourage and support learning. Where no such experts are present, students can view a YouTube video on the subject or email an expert.
The simple answer is you make things. Things that you are curious about. Things that spring from your imagination. Things that inspire you and things that you admire. The informal, playful atmosphere allows learning to unfold, rather than conform to a rigid agenda. Making, rather than consuming is the focus. It is craft, engineering, technology and wonder-driven.
Where are Maker Spaces located?
A Maker Space should be easily accessed by its patrons; in a school, the library is ideal. The library is a genuine fit for a place of creative inquiry; it’s very nature as a point of reference, collection and exploration suit the hands-on, do-it -yourself spirit of the maker movement. The physical Maker Space can be as big and as complex as you need it to be; it can be operated from a cart, storage bins, from the corner of a room or an entire dedicated space. Access to electricity, plumbing and washrooms is essential.
Learning is disguised as exploration and play. Design process, math, science, technology, crafts and language arts are all a part of the daily work in a Maker Space. Students will reflect, using problem solving and critical thinking as they refine and improve their products. Creativity drives perseverance. Social skills and team work are honed as they seek out appropriate help from peers and adults to overcome obstacles.
What are the expectations
of the students in a
Safety is paramount; gloves and goggles are a must. Clearly posted illustrated rules and behaviour expectations reinforce safety and collegiality. Teach how to safely handle all tools. A check in system prevents overcrowding on equipment.
Encouraging students to ‘ask 3 before me’ to support team work.
Create an ‘expert’ wall where students who feel that they are experts at something can add their names (ie. Cathy is an expert at Sewing) so that students who may be struggling can tap into their expertise. Adults act as facilitators.
Because the act of making is not competitive, students use their own inner strength and problem-solving strategies to maintain their forward momentum.
Even the most modest budget can support a Maker Space. Most schools offer access to standard tables, chairs, and computers and printers. Community donations of cardboard and card board tubes, masking tape and duct tape, markers, popsicle sticks, recycled electronics, hand tools, fabric, hot glue guns, construction paper, index cards, and USB headsets with integrated microphones and sewing machines will give you a great start.
Create a wish list; once community members see what’s being done in your Maker Space, you might have community members who want to support your work with funding. Save the budget for purchasing more costly items like 3D printers.
Invite community stakeholders in to your maker space to witness creativity in action. Hold a Maker Faire to showcase your student’s creations. Invite local reporters to tour your space and take part in the action; positive publicity may help attract sponsors.
What is the Maker Movement?
What is the Maker Movement? Whether you have never heard of the Maker Movement or are wondering what all the fuss is about, this section will help clarify, edify and inspire you to create your own Makerspace. These searchable terms all connect to the Maker Movement: DIY Makers, FabLab, Hacker Space, Hacker Movement, Library Laboratories, Library Makers, Maker Classroom, Maker Projects, Makerspace, Maker Tools, Maker Space, Maker Program, Maker Kids, Maker Works, Maker Faire, Maker Educator, Maker Teacher, Maker Education, Maker Store, Makerbot, Recycle Shop, Studio, Tinkering, Tinker Studio, Tinkering Space, TechShop and Workshop.
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