Despite the popularity and trend of the term “makerspace”, educators have to search hundreds of articles, websites and books to determine what this term is, how to begin, where to locate materials and determine the educational significance. Another complication is that the resurgence of this DIY movement found its grassroots in the public population and is just starting to make its way back to education. This makes navigating materials from an educational lens even more challenging. Makerspace for Education, is a collaborative digital space for educators to explore how to create and use makerspaces in their own environments and will help to transform pedagogies of individual educators through immersion in the context and the support of a community of practice.
The Maker Movement is a vehicle that will allow schools to be part of the necessary return to constructivist education. A movement that will allow students to be creative, innovative, independent, and technologically literate; not an “alternative” way to learn, but what modern learning should really look like (Stager, 2014).
The Maker Movement is a theoretical and physical embodiment of constructivism that will reform how we educate students. (Roffey, 2015) Education grounded in “making” has the capacity to transform the way we think about pedagogy and learning (Kurti, Kurti, & Flemming, 2014). At the heart of this movement is the understanding that “learning happens best when learners construct their understanding through a process of constructing things to share with others” (Donaldson, 2014, p. 1). Key to the success of the maker movement in education is the shift away from ready-made knowledge to a classroom environment ripe for exploration, creativity, innovation and collaboration (Donaldson, 2014; Papert & Harel, 1991; Schön, Ebner, & Kumar; Schrock, 2014) with hands on materials and real world problems (Hatch, 2013).
Makerspace builds on a constructivist ideology to form a constructivist and constructionist approach to education, as introduced by Jean Piaget and developed by Seymour Papert. The primary goal of both constructivism and constructionism is to have learners create their own knowledge by creating and interacting with physical objects. It has clear connections to media literacy as well as to self-directed learning. Innovative researchers, and those who wish to see schools develop 21st century learners with the skills to work in today’s multidimensional career settings, know constructivism and constructionism are necessary methods.
“Ultimately, the outcome of maker education and educational makerspaces leads to determination, independence and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world through simulating real-world challenges. In short, an educational makerspace is less of a classroom and more of a motivational speech without words” (Kurti et al., 2014, p. 11).
The purpose of Makerspace for Education is to provide educators with a hands-on, creative, user friendly, “anytime, anyplace”, professional development tool that can be used as part of a community of practice. It allows educators to inform themselves, with tools at their fingertips, on the various aspects of the makerspace as they are ready. Using interactive tools that allow access to necessary information, directly from a user-friendly interface and based on the key frameworks of constructionism and constructivism, makerspace, design thinking and media literacies, teachers will have the tools they need to begin, or continue, their makerspace journeys. This site will evolve and grow as the participating educators add to the content and support the construction of knowledge.