Week 4 Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students? #UAEmergTech

Blake's Maker Space

With a Maker Space, you leave behind the theoretical or strictly digital and delve into a tactile hands-on project based learning environment. A physical learning environment is constructed to provide an array of project based learning activities that often require collaboration, critical thinking, and real world problem solving. We are starting to see maker spaces being implemented in science, technology, engineering, and math classes (STEM), but they are often interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts.  As an emerging technology they are exciting because their implementation is still in its infancy stages and the results are positive as students enjoy the freedom and collaboration this style of learning offers.  Also it is catching on because we are equipping students with skills and experiences that will translate into their future careers.

Maker spaces have evolved from a concept called hacker spaces and this pedagogy relies on the simple concept of creating creative people. One of the premises of maker spaces is the idea that you have a group of people in a single space working on projects. Maker spaces function as a mecca of peer learning and knowledge sharing. Although formal and scheduled presentations on particular topics can occur, much of the learning is spontaneous and student driven. Many of these maker spaces are being constructed in computer labs and even libraries. “The maker movement in libraries is about teaching our patrons to think for themselves, to think creatively, and to look for do-it-yourself solutions before running off to the store. In short, a makerspace is a place where people come together to create with technology” (Bagley, 2012).

learning_pyramid

Schools who have embraced the maker space concepts are finding tremendous success, especially for those who don’t thrive under traditional classroom learning. As educators we often spend much of our time lecturing, reading, and on occasion discussing information with our students. The theory behind maker spaces flips that education model on its head. 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” (“7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces”). Students learn best by creating, demonstrating, practicing and ultimately teaching others. No wonder when we ask students to sit in a lecture all day, they struggle paying attention (Martin, 2010).

Students will benefit from this pedagogy because this type of collaborative learning focuses on them contributing to the learning of others. Having students teach others and discuss concepts with others will allow them to retain much more information. “Makerspaces allow students to take control of their own learning as they take ownership of projects they have not just designed but defined. At the same time, students often appreciate the hands-on use of emerging technologies and a comfortable acquaintance with the kind of experimentation that leads to a completed project” (“7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces”). In 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported to the President the need to create a strong foundation in our schools in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Maker spaces are a natural fit in bringing about improvements in these fields as students grow together through discovery.

Humans have a strong drive to create. If you really want to inspire students to learn you will provide them the freedom to create, collaborate, and problem solve. Aristotle said whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; men come to be builders, for instance by building, and harp players by playing the harp”. Aristotle knew thousands of years ago what we are just rediscovering in our education practices today. By providing our students with real-life experiences in school today, we are equipping them to be successful for the rest of their lives.

@Jason Boerger

Works Cited:

Bagley, C. (2012, December 20). What is a Makerspace? Creativity in the Library. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2012/12/what-is-a-makerspace-creativity-in-the-library.html

Cooper, J. (2013, September 13). Designing a School Makerspace. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/designing-a-school-makerspace-jennifer-cooper

Martin, Jonathan. (2010, September 1). In Schools of the Future, Students Learn Best by Doing, Vigorously and Digitally. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/748

7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces. (2013, April 1). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7095.pdf

 

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7 thoughts on “Week 4 Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students? #UAEmergTech

  1. I didn’t post about this on my blog, but I am curious if this may be beneficial to all students in the same way. As you say, providing real-life experiences for children is vital, but each student learns in a different way. In my mind, I can see those students who are kinesthetic learners doing very well in a makerspace, yet students who have a different intelligence might not to as well. Giving students who don’t excel as much in the doing aspect a task in the makerspace might provide them with an interesting challenge. Alternatively, I can see how some intelligences might do better with other aspects of the project. For example, students who are more interpersonal being able to aid and work with people to their strengths. The ideas behind this emerging pedagogy are still being formed, and I love to sit and think about the possibilities for students.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. According to Forbes Magazine and the National Association of Colleges and Employers two of the top attributes today’s employers are looking for is the ability to work in a team and the ability to make decisions and solve problems. Maker Space offers the opportunity for students to develop those skills to be successful and sought after employees.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/11/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-20-something-employees/

    https://www.naceweb.org/s11122014/job-outlook-skills-qualities-employers-want.aspx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I also commented on the strong connection that maker spaces have with STEM. It’s great to see an idea that fits in so well with current educational trends! I also a free that maker spaces encourage students to develop skills like communication and collaboration that are vital to their success in the future. One of biggest personal concerns would be how to connect a maker space to curriculum and/or standards without compromising the fundamental aspects that make a maker space.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I would like to share with you a quote from an article I found about connecting Maker Space with Common Core Standards. Below the quote is the link to the full article

    “The Common Core State Standards can be
    incorporated into makerspaces. The English
    Language Arts standards can be presented in
    a new way to students who are used to more
    traditional education, and they can help the
    students apply what they learn. Makerspaces
    are where we as educators can really encourage
    cross-literacy and the interconnected curricula
    that CCSS and STEM/STEAM education
    seem to promote. Most importantly, I feel that
    makerspaces can provide students with a wellrounded,
    creative, and diverse education that
    could not be provided otherwise.

    http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/pdf/lmc/reviews_and_articles/featured_articles/Hall_November_December2014.pdf

    Like

  5. Your comment that humans have a strong drive to create is so true. If you set a bunch of Lego blocks in front of any kid (or adult), it won’t take long before they start building. I know that when I use manipulatives with my classes, it’s difficult to get the attention of the students once they’ve begun. They’re too engrossed in the hands-on activity. One of the things that intrigues me the most about maker spaces is they can appeal to a variety of learning styles. Students who are naturally driven can push themselves as hard as they want. Students who need more motivation will find it in the freedom to creatively follow their own leading.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Week 4 Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this … “With a Maker Space, you leave behind the theoretical or strictly digital and delve into a tactile hands-on project based learning environment. A physical learning environment is constructed to provide an array of project based learning activities that often require collaboration, critical thinking, and real world problem solving.” […]

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