What is a Maker Space?
Maker Space is a fairly new term, most often it’s referred to in the context of educational settings, and more recently we’re hearing of traditional libraries developing dedicated spaces designed to engage students creatively with a variety of hands-on projects. In some of these spaces, you’ll see LEGOs and more common building materials available primarily for younger elementary students. However, in educational settings where there are dedicated Maker Spaces, you’ll find the scale of creativity is exponentially broader and aided by access to all kinds of materials and technological tools (such as 3D printers, iPads, etc).
Maker Spaces aren’t limited to conventional science labs, where one would expect the presence of bunsen burners, beakers and safety googles. Nor workshops, wood or metal, where specialized machinery is resident and craft is specific to the material. They aren’t exclusively art studios, or home economics classrooms either. But rather, A Maker Space is an “innovation space”, where robotics, circuitry, electronics, quilting, sewing, fashion design, screen printing, sculpting, pottery, photography, videography, programming, painting, drawing, music production, engineering, architecture, agriculture, construction…take place.
Maker Spaces are equipped with the tools, materials and technology, to aid the student/creator to apply their learning through doing. They enable the student to engage all of their senses, complimenting each individual’s learning preference, as well as fostering sharing and collaboration. Maker Spaces easily embrace Science and Technology and Artistic activities, however, they go beyond STEAM to inspire problem solving and ultimately to allow individuals and groups to envision and produce with maximum creativity.
Viewed as the classroom of the future, Maker Spaces are ideal adolescent learning environments complimenting the students’ needs to be physically engaged in their learning, build connections to real-world applications, and work collaboratively to explore topics.