With technology changing the landscape of learning, there are a plethora of learning methods that are gaining popularity in schools across the country. From flipped classrooms to group lessons online, teachers are adapting different tools and techniques to keep digitally native children engaged in school
Makerspaces are one of these tools that are being embraced wholeheartedly by educational institutes not just in India but around the world. So what is a makerspace? A makerspace within an educational framework is a space that provides free tools and facilities to children, allowing them to bring their ideas to life.
Makerspaces were recently identified as one of six important developments in educational technology for K-12 education by the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report for 2015, which states, "Makerspaces are increasingly being looked to as a method for engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration" (p. 38). Kids get to test their theories and bring their ideas to life using all the tools and facilities available to them in a makerspace.
A makerspace enables the students to find answers and solve problems that they may not be able to in a classroom. They utilize knowledge, skills and tools from a wide range of content areas and experiences, which enable them to grasp complex concepts smoothly.
Not just that, a makerspace also allows them to discover new ways to do something, which may not be a part of their curriculum but are of significant importance.
Varsha Bhambani, an education consultant previously with R N Podar School, Mumbai, says, "A makerspace can also be used to apply social and cultural knowledge. It's a great way for children to not just know but understand concepts and use them to develop their own ideas." Today, R N Podar School is one of the many schools that have their own makerspace in order to foster deep learning through applications.
To help you get started on this journey, here is a simple infographic to help you create a makerspace in your school.
Along with this, Ms. Bhambani recommends stocking your makerspace with a variety of tools and software such as Scratch, Makey Makey, Makeblock, etc., a list of which is provided here. These tools help kids boost their creativity with the help of computers. Computers breathe life into makerspaces, acting as the building blocks that help children realise their creative vision. In a makerspace, students can use a PC to learn how to design via online courses, screen-print an entire book, or even create model houses with a 3D printer.This makes it vital to choose the right PC for your makerspace, one that can open doors to limitless possibilities.
The benefits of educational makerspaces are many and varied. While they do not come without their challenges, makerspaces can have a significant impact on student learning and development. Building a makerspace in your school brings amazing returns —enlightened minds filled with curious queries and a drive to find answers. A makerspace helps promote creativity among students, which is why it is also known as the library of the future. Investing in a makerspace in your school could be the key to unlocking a student's potential.
Aarambh is a pan-India PC for Education initiative engineered to enhance learning using the power of technology; it is designed to help parents, teachers and children find firm footing in Digital India. This initiative seeks to connect parents, teachers and students and provide them the necessary training so that they can better utilise the PC for learning, both at school and at home.