Makerspaces are communities of practice constructed in a physical place set aside for a group of people to use it as a core part of their practice, a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. These spaces are open to kids, adults, and entrepreneurs and have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons and even sewing machines.
Experts state that a maker class experience at school provides a wealth of opportunities for students, but how can you determine if a makerspace is needed at your school? How eventually can be integrated in your school?
Mentioned below are some tips which might help you.
Step number one: let’s determine if a makerspace is needed at your school
Here below some simple questions to answer, elaborated by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the organisation leader in the promotion of creativity and the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of education.
- Does failure slow or stop creativity in students?
- Could students expand their perspectives by learning about expression and unique learning styles?
- Can we improve real-world applications of classroom lessons to strengthen comprehension?
- How would more hands-on learning benefit curiosity and innovation?
- Can we increase exposure to the 21st century skills needed for success?
If you answered yes to all the questions, a makerspace can provide the opportunities you are looking for to enhance learning at your school.
Step number two: let’s figure out which strategy can be used to implement makerspace at your school
Two types of strategy are suggested.
- A makerspace can be integrated directly into a classroom setting or it can be established in a dedicated location. Regardless of where the space is located, the key is creating a space that provides opportunities for: collaboration, learning, sharing, testing, questioning, experimenting and innovating.
- If you don’t have funds for that, you can simply ask to a makerspace that is in near your area.
For insight on how a makerspace can be established at school, read the entire article “Does My School Need a Makerspace?” on Invent official website.
 National Inventorts Hall of Fame, Article: “Does My School Need a Makerspace?”, www.invent.org/blog/trends-stem/establish-makerspace-school
Furthermore Concordia University in Portland (Oregon) suggests 5 steps to cerate a maker space for your school:
Step 1 – Get Started: Study Up + Network
You can start reviewing a few reading materials as a point of reference and connecting to the myriad of like-minded educators across your country and beyond. There are a lot of passionate teachers that share online suggestions, resources and free lessons for maker based activities. sharing their ideas and advice. You can use social media as Telegram, facebook or Youtube, to find relevant supporting materials.
Step 2 – Getting Stuff for Your Makerspace: Bring the Outside World In
Start filling in a supply material list. In order to cover the expenses for supply materials you can ask companies, organisations and any other potential stakeholder (including parents) to provide it for free. Makerspaces can use almost everything from metal scraps to waste material. Ask your community for help through face to face meetings or posts on social media. Invite local professionals to help kids create their project (i.e. an electrician to build a light-up circuit, or bring in a construction expert to help design the perfect tiny house).
Step 3 – Find Space + Time: Turn Any Space into a Makerspace and Give Kids Time to Explore
Any space can be used for basic steam-based projects (i.e. libraries, school classrooms and cafes). You could adapt the activities to the available spaces and let the students explore it.
Step 4 – Make it Work: Start a Design Challenge Practice
To organise regular maker-based design challenges is a good practice to improve interest and involvement. They can be schoolwide, grade-wide, or classroom-based, and work well when both competitive or merely for learning. The goal is to get students engaged in design thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. To keep the maker culture alive with regular participation, use the element of surprise by announcing “Drop Everything & Make” challenges or create a design challenge schedule for the year.
Step 5 – Make It Last: Get Creative with the Curriculum
Maker education should connect to classroom learning. Consider ways to incorporate maker projects into your everyday unit and lesson plans, as well as long-term projects. This makes the school subjects more relevant and connected to the real world. However, embedding maker culture into curriculum learning creates a long-term practice with measurable outcomes. To make it work, guide students toward identifying and understanding learning targets and then engage them in self-reflection and revision—just like real innovators.
The first draft of the Make In Class Competence Map is now available.
The document is the first Make In Class Intellectual Output. This first draft will be improved until the end of the project, so, please, if you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to contact us.
The First Multiplier Event will be held in Fano (Italy) on 3 July 2019 at 4 pm.
The Municipality of Fano with the support of Polo 3 school and Co.Meta will organise the event called “Developing Maker-based Learning paths” in the Rocca Malatestiana Fortress located in Fano where the Municipality launched the initiative named “FABLAB FANO” (www.ac-ies.eu) aimed at promoting and spreading a ‘maker’ movement and digital inclusion in the territory through cultural, recreational and training actions.
The first multiplier event will reach out to secondary school teachers and schools dealing with early school leaving phenomenon as potential users of the project results. It will target also disengaged students, students with low performance and potential dropouts as final beneficiaries of the Make In Class project.
Decision makers and public authorities will be invited to make awareness raising on the Make In Class project.
The aim of the event is to disseminate the first Make In Class project results (IO1 Competence Map and IO2 OER) and start promoting the transferability of all material created within the project to other schools, organisations and contexts.
The main topics will be:
- IO1 Competence Map
- IO2 OER
- Maker based activitiy (3D MODELLING and BUILDING A DRONE)
- Droneball: the new team trend sport
The phenomenon of early school leaving is a complex problem that involves several dimensions of social life, very often strictly linked to social contest marked by poverty and exclusion.
But there are also reasons that arise from personal factors, family matters, learning difficulties and more generally, how the school education system is organised and the role that the individual plays in it.
For all these reasons, the answers to the phenomenon of dispersion should be in order to counteract and reduce the seriousness of the problem and the initiatives must be several and addressed to educational ,social, labour and health policies.
Digital education is a fundamental element to increase the motivation of young people in general, and to counteract inequalities in learning even if technology itself is not enough, but must be accompanied by a technological and digital renewal of teaching methods and approaches.
For some years, the social policies of the Municipality of Fano have been aimed to promoting technologies in favour of adolescents and young people not only during school but above all in their free time, offering a FabLab service with spaces for the construction of three-dimensional products and devices and spaces for playing instruments.
Agreements were made with local high schools to accompany students during class hours, offering a technological laboratory where they could learn how to build and use 3Dproducts and drones.
So much curiosity was aroused that in the afternoon many of them began to attend the FabLab deepening their knowledge, often abandoning the unqualified attendance of leisure time without interest but mostly marked by boredom and sometimes forms of aggression towards peers.
Counteract the use of drugs and alcohol abuse in young people is the mission of the municipal social services that strongly believes in offering opportunities for healthy interests by keeping adolescents and young people away from degraded spaces and often prone to violence.
The second transnational meeting was successfully held on 9-10 May 2019 in Malta.
Malta College of Art Science & Technology (MCAST) hosted the two working days in MCAST Main Campus located in Paola.
- Co.Meta S.r.l. uni personale: Marica Sabbatini, Giulio Gabbianelli
- Municipality of Fano: Roberta Galdenzi, Davide Frulla
- ISS Polo 3 Fano: Benedetta Tallevi, Loris Penserini,
- Bylinedu: Celia Ruiz Flores, Loli Iborra
- Fablab Munchen: Birgit Kahler, Nicol Bobrich Draxler
- Mcast: Christopher Gauci, David Mifsud
- IES El Clot: María Teresa Fernández, Marcial Terradez
- Gymnasium Neubiberg: Stefanie Will, Christopher Müller
During the different sessions the partners have discussed the project activities carried out so far and the activities planned for the next six months.
The partners focused, in particular, on the on-going first Intellectual Output (IO1 Make In Class Competence Map) and the activities foreseen in the second and third Intellectual Output (IO2 Open Educational Resources and IO3 Teacher Training Programme).
Another section was dedicated to the first multiplier event that is planned in September 2019 and the LTTA that will be organised in Germany in December 2019.
At the end of the meeting all the participants had the possibility to visit MCAST, in particular the laboratories for 3D printing and CNC machines.
The Second Transnational Meeting will be held in Malta on 9-10 May 2019.
Malta College of Art Science & Technology (MCAST) will host the two working days in the main campus located in Paola, 5 kilometres from the capitol, La Valletta.
The partners from Italy, Spain, Germany and Malta will meet to discuss and plan the activities foreseen for the next months.
The new German school, Gymnasium Neubiberg from Munich, will have to opportunity to introduce itself to the partnership.
The main topics will be:
- What has been done so far
- IO1 Competence Map, IO2 Make in Class OER and IO3 Teacher Training Programme
- The Transnational Training course
- Quality Assurance
- Dissemination activities
It’s now available the new Make In Class leaflet in English language.
Please feel free to download and share!
The Make in Class project is developing different tools for secundary teachers to use maker-based activities with students to develop teaching-learning processes, and especially to reduce school failure. Perhaps it would be interesting to start by defining what are exactly maker based activities.
The maker movement
In 2005, Dale Dougherty launched the magazine “Make” where the concerns of many people who liked to “make” things were collected. In 2006 he launched the Maker Faire event where the “makers” show their projects year after year. From there, the movement grew until our days in which people of all ages with more or less knowledge about technology has joined this movement that even has its own Manifesto.
The maker movement promotes the idea that all people are capable of developing any object, “do it yourself” (DIY), instead of ordering it or buying it.
The maker movement is a social movement that began with craft manufacturing and where digital interaction and manufacturing methods have been quickly integrated mainly due to 3 factors:
1. The integration of electrical and electronic components.
2. The emergence of digital tools for design and manufacturing with affordable sizes and prices: 3D modeling programs, 3-D printers, laser cutters, 3-D scanners.
2. Social and collaborative digital media, which have fostered collaborative innovation on the web and where innumerable open source digital practices are shared.
What are “maker based activities”?
They are activities, challenges, personal fabrication projects with the “do it yourself” philosophy where creativity, autonomy and collaboration are essential factors.
These activities can range from traditional manufacturing:
- simple objects with traditional materials (paper, cardboard, plastic, light plywood, etc.),
- objects with recycled materials (boxes, light containers, toys, etc.),
up to digital manufacturing:
- physical objects to which are added electrical components (cables, switches, batteries, …)
- electronics (resistors, transistors, sensors, motors, LEDs, displays, …)
- modeling and 3D printing
For more than 10 years, communities of people and companies interested in programming and electronics have developed technology that makes it easy to connect, control and interact with physical objects directly or even through the Internet using mobile devices such as our mobile phone. For example: Arduino or Raspberry Pi circuit boards that can be “programmed” from the computer.
Thanks to the technology of “programming by blocks”, to start coding is as simple as assembling pieces of a puzzle.
It can be said that technology is becoming more “inclusive”. You can “manufacture” projects with simple technology and with little money thanks to electronic components are becoming cheaper and because there are many software applications with free or open source versions.
The computer and mobile devices, such as phones or tablets, have become a tool where hundreds of programs can be used to “create” and perhaps for this reason, the concept “maker” sometimes transcends the idea of creating projects with only “tangible” elements. Makers creativity sometimes need to use software apps to complete their projects.
In other words, we can “manufacture” a virtual object with 3D modeling software to be printed and maybe we need also create with this object a digital film through video recording and editing.In short, we can say that a “maker” activity is always creative and it has a simple or complex project behind it.
The degree of integration of technology will depend on different factors: age, knowledge and skills on different techniques and technologies of people “maker”, type of workspace, equipment, budget, personal, professional or educational objective, etc.
Education and the maker culture
Active learning ( “learning by doing”), teamworking, solving problems in a collaborative way, autonomy or creativity are being key in the new methods of learning in schools, and these elements are adjusted to the DNA of the maker movement.
“Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.”
At present, there is a great interest to develop in the students basic and professional competences that still cost to develop in the classrooms.
It is for these reasons that teachers are interested in everything that has the name “maker”, and begin to experience this type of activities, initially in the subjects related to STEAM areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths.
But….if these activities are implemented beyond the scope of technology subjects?
The last weeks our team spent a lot of time interviewing teachers and experts in the field of Making and we found out that the field we’re searching in is just about to start to work with maker based tools and activities, but making is hardly integrated in the standard curriculum yet. Up to now it rather seems to be an after school activity to enrich pupils that are very keen on learning technical things like robotics and drones, the courses are held by an expert teacher who likes making, or programming.
But walking through Make Munich Maker Fair beginning of march, we saw lots of different people doing very interesting making projects that can be adapted and implemented into school curricula. Our goal now is to widen the field, to motivate a lot more teacher on the one hand, no matter what subject, in order to reach more pupils by integrating Making into normal lessons.
In order to reach that goal, we work out different projects. Very small to long projects, easy to hard projects, cheap to expensive projects, projects that do not need a lot of equippment, that can be held within one or two hour lessons, up to others that take half a year and that need some equippment like 3D Printer, lasercutter, vinylcutter, electronics, drones…
Providing this range of activities including knowledge and the implementation into standard curricula of secondary schools we hope that soon a lot more pupils will get to know and get to love this sort of activities and without realizing will be motivated and keen on learning again. In the end the normal lessons are enriched with making acivities to better motivate the pupils and to make them want to invent, learn, construct and therefore need to be able to read, calculate and write…
An example: Stop Motion – subjects language and arts: starting the project with finding a topic, write a storyboard, paint and build background and choose figures, do the stop motion video, write dialogs, do the sounds. Present the film. You will see that pupils are very keen on working in a team, thinking of a story, writing a story board, getting all the equippment needed, painting and working on the backgrounds with different machines.. learning how to 3D model to get figures and houses, how to lasercut etc you can get all sorts of marks for your subject as a side effect.
So given the fact that all over Europe we deal with pupils that are more or less bored and unmotivated during „normal“ lessons, where they have to sit and listen and perceive intellectual input, that often is not related to anything they are interested in, our project aims to provide a lot of interesting little, medium or big projects for teachers, that they easily can implement into their lessons, to help those pupils to find a way back into learning and in the end everyone will be able to find a job after finishing school.