Questions about “makerspaces”
Posted April 27, 2016on:
I had mixed thoughts when I read this TODAY article on makerspaces in Singapore schools.
I was glad that kids could get the opportunity to learn by designing, tinkering, failing, and persisting.
I was also reminded of articles that provided cautionary notes about such initiatives. Juliani wrote about how You Don’t Need A Makerspace to Be a Maker. Scherer advocated that Every Classroom Should Be a Maker Space.
I weighed in with a simple tweet that needs some elaboration.
Dr Ashley Tan (@ashley) April 24, 2016
The school computer laboratories were not available to all, they were costly to maintain, and some special rooms became white elephants with infrequent use.
Might school-based “makerspaces” with expensive 3D printers and sensitive tools become the new computer lab?
Specifically, are such places:
- Limited or open access?
- Peripheral or central to making and learning?
- Special or ordinary?
Can meaningful and powerful learning happen only here, and if so, why does this not happen in more classrooms?
Should the message that this sort of learning only happens in such places be transmitted by accident or even worse on purpose?
Are such spaces good-to-have or must-haves? Are they good for showing off to visitors or do they actually make difference to teachers and students?
Must a makerspace only be a physical one that learners do not own?
I am Ashley and this is my blog. It is one of the spaces that I take ownership of online in order to make myself and others learn.