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Monday, December 3 • 9:45am - 10:45am
Should makerspaces in community-based organizations, schools and libraries coexist?

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What are makerspaces? Makerspaces can take the form of places where individuals meet to share space and tools for the purpose of making things. Some makerspaces may be for-profit companies, non-profit corporations or organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries (https://spaces.makerspace.com). These spaces provide opportunities for people of all ages to create, build, collaborate and learn together using no tech to high tech tools and equipment.

Some schools create makerspaces for after-school initiatives. Other schools integrate aspects of makerspaces’ design thinking and experimentation into their curriculum during the instructional day. In other school districts, electives or special classes are dedicated to creative exploration within their makerspace environments that help prepare students for fields in science, technology, engineering and math (https://www.edutopia.org/blog/creating-makerspaces-in-schools-mary-beth-hertz).

Most community-based makerspaces offer their tools as well as classes and workshops to community members of all ages for the purpose of developing knowledge and skills for designing, prototyping, and creating products. The makerspaces within these community-based environments represent the “democratization of design, engineering, fabrication, and education” (https://spaces.makerspace.com).

Makerspaces are becoming more popular for many reasons. Makerspaces provide collaborative opportunities that help participants develop design and manufacturing skills and express creativity while working with tools, materials, and equipment such as woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing, lasercutting, CNC machines, soldering irons, kilns and more. Makerspaces can also be incubators for startup businesses. For some who attended schools before the 1970’s when industrial arts was an important part of the school curriculum, it is important to create makerspaces that allow industrial learning opportunities for younger generations that do not currently have woodshop or metalworking classes in today’s schools. For retirees who downsized their homes and no longer have access to tools and equipment that they once had in their basements or garages, makerspaces become like a “club” or gathering of like-minded makers as they work together to create things. This also gives them an outlet to share their knowledge of making by teaching classes or giving hands-on workshops.

Should makerspaces in community-based organizations, schools, and libraries coexist? After all, don’t these makerspaces provide opportunities for making, collaborating, learning and sharing for all ages?

This session will provide participants with an opportunity to interact with one another to exchange ideas about forming collaborative makerspace partnerships between schools, libraries, and community-based makerspaces. Two VSTE members, one a school district makerspace educator and the other a retired educator now the education liaison for a non-profit makerspace who collaborate to establish maker initiatives that benefit schools and the community at large. They will lead the session by posing these questions for sharing and discussion:

1. In what ways do makerspaces in schools, libraries, and community-based maker organizations share the same mission, goals and objectives? How are they different?
2. What are some examples of such makerspace partnerships? What types of exchanges of ideas and resources are occurring?
3. If forming such makerspace partnerships is important to a community, what strategies and desired outcomes should be considered?

avatar for Nick Grzeda

Nick Grzeda

Supervisor, Computer Science, Loudoun County Public Schools
Nick Grzeda is the Supervisor for Computer Science in Loudoun County Public Schools. From 2016-2020, Nick was a Digital Integration Specialist in the Office of Educational Technology and was responsible for managing VISION (LCPS instance of Moodle); leading division-wide initiatives... Read More →
avatar for Diane DeMott Painter

Diane DeMott Painter

Associate Professor, Shenandoah University
As a retired K-12 special educator, I now teach part-time at Shenandoah University in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. I am also interested in how to use technology in maker spaces. I belong to Makersmiths, Inc. (a non-profit maker space in Loudoun County, VA) and serve... Read More →

Monday December 3, 2018 9:45am - 10:45am EST