After all of my research, I have come to the conclusion that the benefits of maker spaces are numerous and they far outweigh possible negatives. While creating a maker space in a K12 classroom may be impractical for some schools, I do think it something that all K12 teachers should look in to. I found three big benefits from maker spaces. All of these benefits, however, come because a maker space is pretty much student directed. As I said in my third blog spot, students really won’t benefit unless the area is self-directed. I didn’t realize how important this aspect was until I started to do a little more research.
Okay, the big reveal! The three biggest benefits, in my opinion, is that students gain creativity, independence and critical thinking skills. Let’s break it down.
Creativity: Obviously in the hands on environment children will have to be creative. Within certain parameters, they have the power to make whatever they want. This is really cool opportunity to have. Especially for older kids who can begin to get in to more complicated things, like robotics. For some students, if it isn’t something isn’t happening at school, they’re never going to experience it. They may never know they like to build and experiment with robots unless their school provides some type of maker space to allow them experiment.
Independence: Because of self-directed learning children have to step outside of their comfort zone and find their own answers. They aren’t guided every step of the way. Students have to rely on themselves and work it our for themselves rather than anticipating the teacher will tell them everything.
Critical Thinking: This is probably the most important of the three benefits in my opinion because it’s really something that you will use your whole life. Again, self-directed learning is imperative. Without step by step instructions on how to solve a problem, student are forced to think critically and come up with an answer on their own.
Hopefully, all K12 teachers have the opportunity to experience and try out maker spaces in their classrooms. It won’t always work, but when it does, it will be really beneficial for students!
Before I wrap up my blog, I decided to do a quick post on what a MakerFaire is. Although this isn’t helping me answer my big question, I think it’s a very important topic to address. I think it’s important for you to learn what a MakerFaire is because that is a really good way for educators and everyday people to experience and learn about maker spaces. Generally, a MakerFaire is a place where people come together and experience maker spaces. People from all of your area will come up with booth ideas that somehow fit in a maker space like category. People can then go to the MakerFaire, for free, to take part in all the booths and actually do the activities that the booths have set up.
There are MakerFaires all over the country but I’m going to focus specifically on the one in Atlanta. MakerFaire Atlanta will take place October 4-5 in downtown Decatur. Anyone who wants to participate in MakerFaire is free to do so. You can go as a simple participant and just observe and partake in activities that booths offer. Or you can come up with an idea and make your own booth! You don’t have to be an expert on a topic to come up with your own booth. You just have to have an idea! I think that’s one aspect of MakerFaires that is really neat. Anyone can have a booth! Well, if you fill out the MakerFaire applications. It’s important that anyone can possibly have a booth because it kind of continues the maker space philosophy that we’re all creative and can learn a lot by creating.
I really hope that I can make it to MakerFaire Atlanta. To learn more about MakerFaire Atlanta visit their website!
Since I missed class on Friday the 24th I am writing an extra blog post! I decided to do a short one on tee different maker space activities we learned in class on June 20th. We did six different activities and they were all excellent examples of what a maker space could be. We learned about Minecraft, a very popular game among older elementary students and middle school students. We used iPad apps to learn about coding which went very well with the robot station next to it. From there we went on the makey makey which turns any computer in to a touch screen. There was also squishy circuits station and the rainbow loom station. All could be very useful in k12 classroom.