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Makerspaces: Defense to Development to Dynamism

Makerspaces have surged in popularity and PD marketshare within the education world over the past several years. Starting as an uncertain trend, there has been much research surrounding making, design thinking, and creativity in the classroom [think: the insertion of A into STEAM, or the focus on problem-based learning (PBL)]. Both researchers and flats-(or sneakers)-on-the-ground teachers and librarians assert that design and creation are essential to development of critical thinking and problem-solving in students; in fact, it appears that making rooted in curricular concepts actually increases facility with the concepts and better prepares students to widely apply them to, say, life, or situations presented in standardized tests. The resources gathered below flesh out the process of incorporating a makerspace from the perspective of a skeptic: first DEFENSE, giving meat to the claims above; second DEVELOPMENT, providing the skeleton of what one needs to have an efficient and meaningful makerspace; and third DYNAMISM, ideas for the makerspace to evolve as its personality reflects its users’ pursuits. While resources are grouped according to the creator’s thought process, the reader may choose to skip around based on their own cognitive and research needs.

What Is the Point of a Makerspace? Includes terms to know, real examples, classroom management, and questions from the perspective of the teacher-cynic. [It's the thinking that's involved that allows them to become systems thinkers, and when they're great systems thinkers, they can navigate complexity. --guest John Spencer]
Why Make? An Exploration of User-Perceived Benefits of Makerspaces Academic exploration of a public library makerspace in TN. Establishes context with history of maker movement and research on active learning, then focuses on staff and patron responses to TN makerspace. Good academic justification for making.
Drexel.EDU - ExCITe Center Drexel's hub for Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies. Explores making culture and makerspace implementation/effects in K12 educational institutions. Research report linked on website.
Maker Space Master Course - Led by John Spencer How to Design a Maker Space in a Week: Create a plan for your makerspace with one-on-one coaching/feedback [$99 course from Blend Education by John Spencer] from an experienced teacher/professor and maker.
Free Online Makerspace Course - Raspberry Pi Learn about the makerspace movement from educators who have created successful maker programs, while also developing your own materials along the way. See video for good overview. Free!
Organizing Your Library Makerspace Four keys to organizing a makerspace: use creativity zones, invest in storage labels, plan for works in progress, and enlist students' help with upkeep.
Keeping Makerspaces Alive Author believes that makerspaces based on rote creation - following directions - will stagnate. She advocates intentionally allowing a makerspace to evolve and keeping it focused on students finding new ways of looking at things. Article from School Library Journal.
What is Design Thinking? Student-friendly definitions of a model of the design process, an essential tenet of making. Parent website is geared toward educators implementing design thinking in their own practice and does not address makerspaces.
Get Started with Design Thinking Three activities geared toward first-time experiences with Design Thinking, from Stanford's school of design. Familiarizes students with parts of the process (see Liberatory Design Cards).
The Launch Cycle – Bring Out the Maker in Every Student Book site, but valuable for its videos, webinars, free resources, sample projects, and helpful visuals. Step-by-step approach to creating a makerspace for the classroom (or library).
Liberatory Design Cards Design process model that incorporates equity, empathy, and consideration of oppressed groups. Includes descriptions and key questions. Suited to advanced students or adults, but adaptable.
Written Documentation in Makerspaces Author extends writing-in-all-areas concept to makerspaces, featuring several ideas for purposeful writing in the makerspace. Documentation aids in learning and in the design process.
Problem Scoping: Design Thinking & Close Reading Uses stories as foundations for practicing design thinking for students. Focuses on the idea of problem scoping, or understanding the problem that needs to be solved and the limitations in which the maker must work.
39 Titles To Round Out Any Maker Program School Library Journal Books that are natural companions to makerspaces, from biographies on those who make in real life, to stories that present problems that lend themselves to makerspace-created solutions.
How to Get Students and Staff Excited About Your Makerspace Includes ideas and activities for getting the ball rolling and engaging teachers and students with your new makerspace.
Webinar (8/9/18): Library & Classroom Connections Upcoming webinar on connecting curricula to makerspaces and gamification. Will include instructional strategies, tools, and other resources.
The Maker Movement - Scholastic Reads Podcast Maker leader Kristina Holzweiss (@lieberrian) discusses inclusivity and the librarian's role in making. Listen from 1:20-18:53 to get Kristina's perspective; remainder of podcast describes new line of Scholastic maker products.
Maker Culture Has a ‘Deeply Unsettling’ Gender Problem EdSurge News Underscores the importance of establishing an inclusive, cohesive, sustainable culture when starting a makerspace.
How to make makerspaces accessible to all students Tips on ensuring makerspaces are inclusive of students and attainable regardless of funding levels. [If students don’t see being a “maker” as part of their core identity, they may assume that the makerspace is not for them.--author S. Lurye]
Promoting Meaningful Making in Your School Webinar discussing how to create meaningful projects to engage makers in authentic work. Showcases student and teacher examples, and emphasizes partnering with students to support even the outlandish ideas.
Makers with a Cause Webinar (with certificate) on the potential and purpose of supporting service projects with a makerspace. Presenter is author of book focused on youth, service, and making projects.
Maker Education Initiative – Every Child a Maker Nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the maker movement through training and education. Includes innumerable resources and tools for maker-managers at all levels.
Twitter Search - Find Your Maker Community Search Twitter for hashtags #makerspace (general) and #makered (education) for ideas, people to follow, and products.
MakerDads (@makerdads) Twitter Twitter account with posts geared toward parents/family and making. Good resources to share with the community and to justify your program. [Tagline: We build into kids, dads, grand-dads & other male role models via empathy, innovation & empowerment.]
Mobile Makerspaces Plan, Parkway School District Example of a plan for using multi-school mobile makerspaces. Includes information on products and resources; not intuitively organized, but simple enough and has good information on popular products.
Makerspace Collaborations - Schools and Colleges Schools and college programs join forces to increase the benefits of maker programs. K12 students gain real-world knowledge and application of design thinking, and college students gain experience in facilitating scientific explorations and working with groups.
The Maker Issue SLJ 2018 School Library Journal A curated collection in itself of the current thinking on makerspaces, from one of the leading publications in school librarianship.


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