Success with integration and implementation of Makerspaces is quite simple. Simple with respect to pedagogy, vision, tools and buy-in. Not so simple if these aspects are not in place. Technology (laptops, robots, ipads etc.) and various materials without pedagogy will impact the success of the space. For some reason, the onset of a makerspace for many focuses on money, what others have, and the things/devices rather than on the process. The heart of success with any new initiative/movement can be found in leadership and passionate teachers with good sound pedagogy and practices. Sustained implementation requires teaching (knowing the curriculum) first followed by the tools. A passionate, self-seeking teacher(s)/leader(s) who studies the curriculum, seeks professional development, shares and collaborates with others via their PLN and conferences is the ONLY true key to a successful initiative.
Second is the VISION and the expectation. The culture of a school is very instrumental in success. Leadership that supports “making” as a culture drives the expectations of the faculty. What is the vision and the branding of the school and how will it impact the culture of the school.
Third, what tools (not tech toys) will have the most success in the implementation phase. You want everyone to participate, use, and be willing to learn whatever the new tool might be. Success for the teacher needs to come early. Many times, we have to buy products ahead of time and test them before it is rolled out. When you decide on the tools, giving good sound examples with the curriculum standards will always attract teachers. If it is seen as a toy, teachers will see it as one more thing and not part of the curriculum. Technology is there to help teachers and enhance the curriculum.
Lastly, leaders must know how to generate buy-in from teachers. It is important to implement in a way that fits your school’s beliefs and educational culture (not someone else’s vision or design). All schools are different. You’ll get nowhere with a one-size fits all approach.
2. Vision and expectation
4. Buy – In
*This is part 1 of a series of blog post on Makerspaces. More to come on Learning Environments and their purpose.