Essential Question: Why does “YOUR SCHOOL NAME HERE” need a makerspace?
"Traditional direct instruction focuses on content knowledge, while maker-centered learning orients around the learner's context. It's a framework for learning that can be applied to any content. It allows the learner to actualize his or her own ideas" (Chang & Ratliff, 2016). This means that students are learning things, and they see how their learning fits into the world. This is a skill that traditional learning does not afford students. "We, as teachers, have the opportunity and responsibility to design engaging learning experiences that address the needs of our youth, and maker education is easily accessible, widely applicable, and highly adaptable to educators and learning environments of all kinds. At its best, a maker curriculum is interactive, hands-on, youth-driven, and open-ended" (Chang & Ratliff, 2016).
There is not much direct research on the maker movement, but much can be derived from previous research. Here are a few key points I found in my research on the topic:
"The deepest and most closely held beliefs about learning come not from research reports, but personal experience." (Martinez & Stager, 2013) This makes it hard to give proof for a makerspace, in the sense that proof has been given in the past (data). It is hard to put grades on thoughts, ideas, and experiences. It is even harder to assess 20 different projects or experiences in the same way. Making is about creating things that are of meaning to the learner, and it is hard to assess this with a value or score. So how do we prove learning in a makerspace. The best evidence is anecdotal. This means we need to ask the makers and observers. "At Albemarle County Public Schools, making fosters student autonomy, ignites student interest, and empowers students to embrace their own learning. 'One of the things that we've discovered is that maker education with kids gets them engaged, gets them passionate about the work, gives them opportunities to pursue things that they're interested in,' says Superintendent Pam Moran. 'And as a result, it really raises the level of work that kids are doing, and it starts to make sense. School makes sense'" (Terada, 2016). Here is a short video about Albermarle County Public Schools and a maker education.
Some additional anecdotal evidence comes from looking at famous scientists. Take for example Walter, Alvarez ad doctor and physiologist. He sent his son Luis to an arts and crafts school instead of an elite academic school. At this school Luis took industrial drawing and woodworking instead of more "academic" subjects like calculus. Luis Alvarez won the Nobel prize in physics in 1968. "He attributed his success to an uncanny ability to visualize and build almost any kind of experimental apparatus he could imagine" (Root-Bernstein, R., & Root-Bernstein, M., 2013). Is Luis the only one who had an experience like this? The answer is no. Einstein and Swedish biochemist Hans von Euler-Chelpin also experienced success by learning through arts and crafts, which can be a part of making. "Arts and crafts develop such skills as observation, visual thinking, the ability to recognize and form patterns, and manipulative ability. They develop habits of thought and action that include practicing, persevering, and trial-and-error problem solving. They pose new challenges, such as those that intrigued Rood, Ostwald, and von Euler-Chelpin. And they provide novel structures, methods, and analogies that can stimulate scientific innovation" (Root-Bernstein, R., & Root-Bernstein, M., 2013). Even though this only talks about arts and crafts it is still part of the maker movement because a maker movement is really about doing something that makes sense to the learner and this could include arts and crafts.
Chang, S., & Ratliff, C. (2016, July 11). Assessment in Making. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/assessment-in-making-stephanie-chang-chad-ratliff
Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom [Kindle].
Root-Bernstein, R., & Root-Bernstein, M. (2013, February). The Art and Craft of Science. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/The-Art-and-Craft-of-Science.aspx
Terada, Y. (2016, July 18). Why Making Is Essential to Learning. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/making-is-essential-to-learning-youki-terada
Vega, V. (2015, December 1). Project-Based Learning Research Review. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/pbl-research-learning-outcomes