What if there was an educational space that encouraged questions, took the fear out of learning, built innovative problem-solving skills, boosted confidence, and gave children autonomy in their own learning? Well, there is, and it’s called a “Makerspace.”
A Makerspace is a classroom or workshop where students can take an idea, develop it, use the tools at hand to make it happen, troubleshoot and tinker with problems, and end up with a creative solution. It’s a place where mistakes are important, kids are fearless, and the teacher is no longer the expert… and it might be the most important room in an entire school. Here are just 8 ways a Makerspace will benefit your child’s education:
1. Builds Perseverance
Unfortunately, the use of grades and testing creates fear around failure. Makerspaces, however, are open spaces to fail and to learn through failures.
They’re a space to learn that through failure we discover a better way to do something or a new answer to an old problem. This free space allows students to explore their own resilience in a way that does not negatively affect their grades and evaluations.
2. Strengthens Problem Solving Skills & Encourages Diverse Solutions
Traditional schooling seems to stamp out curiosity and a love for learning. Children no longer ask questions or search deeper for solutions. In a makerspace, students are encouraged to explore, wonder, and investigate. A makerspace is fueled by questions. They provide chances to rethink, reevaluate, and reinvestigate problems and solutions, all while learning that their problem could have multiple solutions.
3. Improves Focus
Just like the playground, a makerspace is an opportunity to get up, get moving, and get creative juices flowing. It’s a positive shift from the classroom. It even makes use of research that suggests hands-on activities improve focus and memory. Hands-on in the makerspace means minds will be on in the classroom.
4. Inspires Independence, Agency and Active Learning
Makerspaces empower students to be active in their own learning. They place the student at the center of the project, and teachers simply act as a mentor (or, in some cases, the student).
Students are encouraged to bring their own expertise, interests, and skills as the tools of the makerspace, which encourages confidence and agency in their own learning. They promote autonomy and innovation. It’s easy for students to become passive receivers of information, instead of active learners. In a makerspace, students don’t passively consume, they create, innovate, think and teach.
5. Promotes Innovation and Creativity
The curriculum of a makerspace is built around the students– they’re expected to tinker, ask questions, explore curiosities, make mistakes, pull things apart, and put things back together. The freedom to do these things is the foundation of strong creativity and innovation.
6. Prepares For The Future
Design, engineering, and craftsmanship are just a few skills learned in a makerspace. They promote higher-order thinking and hands-on problem-solving. Students are free to explore new tools that are being utilized in the real world, such as 3D printers.
7. Supports Multiple Intelligences
A makerspace is a safe and flexible environment that supports learning differences and multiple intelligences. It’s the perfect space for those who learn differently, and allows students to discover and contribute their strengths
8. Engages Community Connections
Makerspaces are a lot like communities in that they are both built on collaboration, co-working, sharing, and teaching others. A well-utilized makerspace not only invites local experts and craftspeople to share skills and tools with students, but it also uses the space to solve problems that can benefit the community.