What is a makerspace in education? 6 Benefits
I’ll be writing about my experience with middle school makerspaces, since that is what I am familiar with. High-school and elementary makerspaces are similar but with more or simpler machines and supplies.
On to the question: What is a makerspace in education?
A makerspace in education is a place where students can come together to create and invent. It’s a space where students can learn by doing and learn a lot of soft skills in the process. It benefits for students, including honing problem-solving skills, encouraging teamwork and collaboration, promoting design thinking and creativity, and providing hands-on learning experiences.
What will students learn?
Makerspaces are ideal places for problem-solving activities. This type of environment encourages students to think outside the box and explore different solutions to solve problems. By working on practical projects in a makerspace, middle schoolers will be able to develop their critical thinking skills while also learning how to manage their time effectively as they work towards completing their project goals.
Teamwork & Collaboration
In addition to developing critical thinking skills, makerspaces also promote teamwork and collaboration among students. Working on projects together allows them to share ideas with one another and build upon existing ideas. This type of collaboration helps foster an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions with each other. Plus, working together on creative projects gives students the opportunity to practice communication skills that will benefit them throughout their academic career as well as in life beyond middle school.
Design Thinking & Creativity
One of the main advantages of makerspaces is that they provide an environment where creativity thrives! Students can use various digital tools such as 3D printers or robotics kits in order to turn their ideas into reality. They also get to experiment with different materials in order to create something new or solve a problem they may be facing. Design thinking encourages out-of-the-box thinking which leads to more innovative solutions!
Hand-On Learning Experience
Makerspaces give students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with technology, robotics, and other areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). This provides an ideal environment for students to flex their creative muscles outside of traditional classroom settings. By providing access to tools like 3D printers, laser cutters, and soldering irons, makerspaces allow students to explore and experiment with technology in ways that would not be possible in a typical classroom setting. Additionally, this type of learning environment encourages collaboration among students as they work together on projects and learn from each other’s discoveries.
Innovation Through Playful Exploration
Makerspaces also give students the freedom to explore their interests more deeply by tinkering with various projects. This gives them an opportunity to explore different ideas without worrying about being wrong or making mistakes. Instead of learning through structured lessons or lectures, makerspace education encourages creative problem solving through exploration and experimentation. This allows kids to try out different methods until they find something that works for them—which is an invaluable skill for any student in any field.
Developing Future Skillsets
Makerspaces are also great for developing future skillsets such as coding, engineering, design thinking and more. By exposing middle schoolers to these topics early on in life, they can begin honing those skills right away so that when they enter high school or college they have already built up a strong foundation of knowledge on which they can build upon later on in life. Furthermore, makerspace education teaches kids important real-world skills such as working collaboratively with others while still fostering individual creativity.
Free tools that are used by makerspaces in education
If a makerspace has a 3D printer, students will need to 3D design! The best tool I have found for doing this is TinkerCAD. Its fun and intuitive. check out my lessons above to learn how to use it!
Incorporating makerspace in education curriculums offers many benefits for both teachers and students. It promotes collaborative learning experiences while giving young minds the chance to explore different solutions through design thinking and creativity. It provides hands-on experiences that allow them to apply what they have learned in the classroom so that when they graduate from high school or college they are better prepared for success in life beyond academics. Makerspaces in education are an excellent way for educators to engage young minds while preparing them for successful futures ahead.
I am creating this site to advance student creativity and help students to take ownership of their learning. The resources on this site are intentionally open-ended and a part of my Innovative Arts curriculum.