Starting a Maker Space

The Maker Movement

Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.

Below are a few things to consider as you get started with your Makerspace:

1.  The most important thing about a makerspace is to provide a place for students and teachers to be creative, to explore questions and ideas they have (whiteboard wall is great for Visible Thinking), to build something, all in a safe environment. The space should be thought out ahead of time and not just thrown together with TECH TOYS.  Technology is not to be seen as a toy but rather a tool that enhances curriculum and learning.

2.  The makerspace CAN BE no-tech, low-tech, or high – tech.  In our case, we have developed a space for high-tech with a lot of engineering tools and literature.  See OUR MAKERSPACE TAB soon (It’s under construction currently).

3.  What will you use the space for?  You will need to set the expectation about what will be done in that space.  Will it be an open room, have a set schedule, or have a facilitator for the area.  Someone will also have to manage the materials and know have to keep the technology up and working if you have a high- tech area.

4.  Areas with expectations (signs/rules) in the makerspace let students know what that area/tool/materials are for.  Posting expectations/rules helps students stay on task.

5.  It is also important that you allow for students work to be posted/hanging in the area.  Students also need to the freedom to leave their works of art out only to return to add more to their creation.  Storage of their work is important.

6.  Make-It challenges are also a nice thing to have hanging in the area.  As students finish a project, that have other things they can create.

7.  Visible thinking is a MUST.  Students are able to re-visit their thinking and add to their thoughts as they work through their creations.  We have a whiteboard wall that students brainstorm and add to as their project/creation grows.

8.  Low-tech areas are a great starting point for any school.  Materials would consist of art supplies, cardboard, blocks, legos, duct tape, scissors, glue, pattern blocks, literature, yarn, towel tubes, marbles and other various materials that will allow them to create pieces of art, sculptures, and design Rube Goldbery Machines.

9.  START with what you have and what you know.  Only you know what can be created and be successful.  For us, we cleaned out closets, old science kits, and other various boxes only to find to big surprises!  Move things around.  You don’t need top of the line furniture etc.  Create your own works of art.  Remember…the space is for students.  What do you think they want to see, build, feel, hear, and smell?

This entry was posted in Creativity, Learning Environments, Makerspaces by teacherstone. Bookmark the permalink.

About teacherstone

I am an assistant principal of a K-4 elementary school. I have taught grades 2nd-5th and served as an instructioanl technology coach for the district for six years. I am a NBCT, STAR teacher, and DEN teacher. I am also a technology adjunct professor at UAB Birmingham. I am currenlty working on my PhD in Educational Leadership and Instructional Technology Curriculum.

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