Makerspaces for Learning

One ongoing theme in my work is how to design technologies, physical spaces and social spaces to support collaboration, creativity and learning. I am deeply interested in the situatedness of learning: how people’s social, physical and mental space impacts how and what they learn.

Much of this interest has taken form within the context of makerspaces.  I have supported schools, museums and other nonprofits in designing and developing sustainable makerspaces that best serve their target audiences. To this end I help with:

  • understanding educational content areas, philosophy, and pertinent resources
  • determining the tools, and materials to invest in, what to do with them and how to keep makers creative and safe
  • determining staffing needs, job requirements and providing opportunities for advancement
  • developing programs that suit target content areas (e.g., science, computer science, technology, craft, history) and educational philosophy (e.g., inquiry, project-based learning, classical)
  • getting the spaces up and running or refining the objectives and implementation of existing spaces

This work began over fifteen years ago. Currently I’m working with the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Center for Childhood Creativity on a study of very young children (ages 4-7) knowledge, understanding and self efficacy with digital fabrication. Recently I helped the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College start up a new makerspace for K14 learners and teachers. There my team and I worked to jump the space: getting the tools working,  developing projects and training courses. I developed new programs including camps, hands-on informal activities with after-school centers, homeschool programs and meet-ups.

If you are interested in this topic, check out my “Makerspaces for Learning” Pinterest board, which provides examples of makerspaces, their approaches to designing spaces, choosing tools and furniture and organizing materials.