District CIO: Making makerspaces

By: | Issue: March, 2019
February 20, 2019
School leaders must consider not only the tools and materials that a makerspace contains, but also the purpose, funding and audience for a makerspace.School leaders must consider not only the tools and materials that a makerspace contains, but also the purpose, funding and audience for a makerspace.

 

The tools and materials in a makerspace should align with the goals for the space, staff capacity and students’ needs, says Dorothy Jones-Davis, executive director of Nation of Makers, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the makerspace movement. 

“Makerspaces are not just about the tools,” says Jones-Davis. School leaders need to decide on the purpose, funding and audience for a makerspace.  

Providing equitable access, for instance, would indicate a need for projects to be worked on at home or after school. Multipurpose spaces can be created by using a science classroom for an after-school robotics class or transforming an unused library corner into a 3D printing makerspace. Space availability, remodeling costs, electrical reconfigurations to support new maker equipment, storage capacity for student projects, and more need to be taken into consideration. 

For more implementation best practices, curriculum examples and project ideas, Jones-Davis recommends Fab Foundation, Digital Promise and Maker Education Initiative.