What are Makerspaces?

The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in what types of skillsets have real, applicable value in a rapidly advancing world. The question of how to renovate or repurpose classrooms to address the needs of the future is being answered through the concept of makerspaces, or workshops that offer tools and the learning experiences needed to help people carry out their ideas. The driving force behind makerspaces is rooted in the maker movement, a following comprised of artists, tech enthusiasts, engineers, builders, tinkerers, and anyone else with a passion for making things. The foundation of the maker movement was built on the success of the Maker Faire, a gathering that launched in 2006 and has since propagated itself into numerous community-driven events all over the world. Makerspaces are intended to appeal to people of all ages, and are founded on openness to experiment, iterate, and create. In this landscape, creativity, design, and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations, as tools such as 3D printers, robotics, and 3D modeling web-based applications become accessible to more people. Proponents of makerspaces for education highlight the benefit of engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

- luannel luannel Feb 11, 2016Makerspace movement is gaining momentum in the library world. Libraries are becoming creation spaces. They provide tools for cutting and shaping wooden objects, an electronics bench, molding machine, 3-D printer and others. Example Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, they have 50-foot trailer inside with various tools.
  • - jasper jasper Feb 19, 2016 What I see happening in museums I work with and know best, is that over the past few years the ideology and philosophy of makerspaces is blending into the traditional institutional practice. The boundaries are blurring, which is highly relevant to the sector, as it brings in countless new ideas and skills, as well as new ways of working (with such scary topics as distributed leadership) which are essential to moving forward. In the Creative Museum project (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nARPbj1eOOM) we're exploring these blurring boundaries, amongst others with the amazing MuseoMix (http://www.museomix.org) team.
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  • Making indeed is catching a lot of momentum, but its popularity and adoption has been more in informal education settings and maker/hacker spaces. Formal educators especially in public schools who are bound by curricular standards/expectations/testing, sometimes see it as an "add on" and hence resist it. But this trend is changing with many schools getting grant-funded 3D printers under their STEM/STEAM initiatives. I am seeing many schools also starting their school or district level Maker Faires. Making can be made very relevant to the formal education sector if the concept of making is not just seen as an unrelated end product or simply printing something on a 3D printer just because its cool. The stage of digitally designing the concept using opensource Computer Aided Design or CAD softwares like MakerBot, AutoCAD and TinkerCad can help students exercise their design-thinking and creative problem solving skills as well as gain phased digital literacy proficiencies. Many museums are working on incorporating tinkering and making in their year round public programs, while many are hosting mini Maker Faires as annual events. pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

- luannel luannel Feb 11, 2016Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, Fablabs and DIY spaces.
  • - jasper jasper Feb 19, 2016 Also, I think these spaces aren't primarily about the technology in them, or what's being done in them (although that may be top of mind even to participants) but about the social aspects of working together in a creative enviroment.
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  • Not exactly a theme, but a potential partner in making for museums and the education sector can be the TechShops. http://www.techshop.ws/. pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

- luannel luannel Feb 11, 2016It will soon behoove museums to provide their visitors a space as well as tools and resources for creating things.
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  • I think the making movement is doing two positive things for museums 1)It is encouraging museums to develop more hands-on and minds-on programming using 21st Century digital technology (like CAD/3D printers) which is also allowing museum education staff in some proactive museums to gain new skill sets through value-driven professional development opportunities. Many museums have introduced new "make" summer camps. 2) It is encouraging museum to start embracing a cross-disciplinary approach to programs combining a STEM/STEAM approach. I have heard (even though I have not seen real data) those museums that are adopting and adapting to the changes in public engagement strategies triggered by the make movement are also seeing a surge in family attendance. pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • MuseoMix turns Museums into temporary makerspaces, together with local maker communities: http://museomix.org
  • The beforementioned Creative Museum Project explores how makerspaces and other creative collaboration spaces can make museums more creative themselves: htttp:creative-museum.eu
  • I love love love this somewhat older project from Museum Rotterdam where they turned the entire city into a museum makerspace: http://museumrotterdam.nl/tentoonstellingen/wat-maken-we-nou (English case study available here:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5hdtfqjjp9hsphc/Case%20study%20Echte%20Rotterdammers-t.docx?dl=0) - jasper jasper Feb 19, 2016
  • We have been exploring how a museum can be used as a laboratory for engaging audiences in new food production and new reinterpretations of culinary heritage in the context of makerspaces and through 3D food printing. There research has been done on the case of Slovenian Australians (e.g. Immigration Museum; Victorian Collection - online image database) and of 3D printed Slovenian potica// cake. We anticipate that this introduction to the reinterpretation of culinary heritage through 3D printing can provide an innovative thought-piece for future research investigations. The idea offers a two-way motivation for engaging new audiences: Users, interested in cooking/baking/heritage/history could be motivated to use digital technologies/3D printing; users (e.g. youth) interested in digital technologies/3D printing could be motivated for cooking/baking/heritage/history. Using edible material for 3D printing in makerspaces has also a significant ecological impact. In makerspaces education about a digital fabrication process in usually more important than building useful objects. In makerspaces, 3D printed objects (mostly made in plastic) are often not recycled after they are not used anymore or unsuccessfullly 3D printed. Therefore, among its role as motivation triggers chocolate or similar material could be a good alternative to plastic also in terms of sustainability.
    https://slovenianaustraliancookhub.wordpress.com/ - kaja kaja Feb 27, 2016
  • Mobile Makers - a research consortium composed of academics, industry and cultural institutions focused on the future of digital design and fabrication. Mobile Makers has a unique approach to discovering and sharing specialist knowledge and creative practices around Australia. Goal: to create a mobile digital fabrication laboratory.http://www.mobilemakers.com.au/ - kaja kaja Feb 27, 2016
  • Questacon in Canberra has an amazing makerspace and associated STEM programs http://www.questacon.edu.au/visiting/ian-potter - lkelly lkelly Feb 28, 2016
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has been an active supporter and advocate of the maker movement,
and has contributed more than $4 million to activate maker spaces in museums and libraries across the nation. Here's a blog from June 2015, when IMLS hosted the first Congressional Maker Faire at the Capitol.

Two specific national capacity building initiatives related to Making that are funded and facilitated by IMLS are:
Supporting Making in Museums and Libraries
Building capacity of museums and libraries to develop effective maker spaces that support learning. There are several components to this project:
-literature review and site visits
-convening practitioners to inform the development of a framework and resources
-development of a framework for effective maker spaces
-creation of website and online resources/possible ongoing community of practice
There are four thought partners on this initiative:
  • Exploratorium
  • Chicago Public Library
  • North Carolina State University Library
  • Maker Education Initiative

Maker/STEM Education Support for 21st Century Learning Centers
This project, funded by the U.S Department of Education and organized and led by the Exploratorium is linking 21st Century Community Learning Centers with STEM-Rich Educational Institutions (SREIs) to provide making and tinkering activities for underserved youth. There are five museums/science centers that are working with five sites in their states.
  • New York Hall of Science
  • Franklin Institute
  • Frost Museum of Science
  • Children’s Museum of Houston
  • Fresno Community Science Workshop
pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016