Makerspaces offer engaging hands-on creative opportunities for learners to experiment and develop their skills in STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics through student centred, student driven project, embedded within the curriculum, through drop in sessions and as after school clubs in Learning Resources Centres, libraries and classrooms.
Makerspaces come in a variety of shapes, sizes and are are multipurpose in design. While some are high tech others rely on relatively little technology. They lend themselves perfectly for teaching and learning STEAM skills and concepts. They are places where learners can go to think critically and creatively, plan and experiment, where they have access to tools, materials and resources, where they direct their learning and become inventors and innovators. Makerspaces can include resources and spaces for electronics, programming and robotics, arts and crafts, woodworking, sewing, gardening and more. They are flexible spaces, often comprised of multiple venues, with plenty of storage and work surfaces, mobile and/or fixed.
We happened upon this learning trend through a discussion with an ex student who is directly involved in the planning and implementation of makerspaces in schools, and immediately recognised the potential makerspace and steam learning offered our students and teachers. This was a way forward for our school. This was just over a year ago. Since then we have been exploring our options, collecting resources, attending sessions on makerspaces, developing a plan and putting it into action.
We measure our success not only by the acquisition of new skills and concepts, but also by the levels of excitement, initiative and student engagement we have observed so far, as we blast through traditional subject barriers, and take huge leaps into dynamic student lead creative experiences.
Here are a few more examples of student work so far. We look forward to sharing more on this topic in the near future.
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