It seems like Makerspaces are all the rage, even in post-secondary schools. It is listed as the number one emerging technology this year according to Campus Technology. (2016) It has made me think about the state of education recently. I viewed a documentary yesterday that was quite eye-opening. Education, Inc.
It is an hour long show that I happen to watch the last 25 minutes. Apparently you can order the DVD from the following website. http://edincmovie.com/ The first line from this website is “American public education is in controversy. ” The documentary had some surprising revelations, to which I have not validated. It describes our education system transforming into a privatized education led by for-profit interests. I suppose I am pretty naive about such things so I watched with an open mind. (like I do for most conversations and opinions)
It made me wonder for quite a while about all sorts of educational material. Who determines content? School district curriculum? Textbook companies? Private software companies? I don’t know. But what is interesting about makerspaces is that it is devoid of private interest. There is no single company capitalizing on makerspaces. Maybe that’s why it has gained traction in recent years. And it should! It’s a great way to learn by creating, experimenting, collaborating, and problem solving. With any type of materials.
Another point made by the Education, Inc. documentary is a statement made by the Superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology, Frank Gargiulo. He says that we need to teach how to learn, not what to learn. Interesting! Makes me wonder about a great many things now. But makerspaces would fill this component of learning, wouldn’t it? You bet.
It would take quite a bit of effort to begin a makerspace in a school/district not familiar with its pedagogy, but it is not far from impossible. Start small and build from there. I like the idea of starting with a handful of specific projects, and rotating projects throughout the school year. It will take time to fully develop a makerspace that can accommodate any type of project. I believe this a great way to teach kids to learn. And it’s not from a private company!
Kelly, R. 9 Ed Tech Trends to Watch for in 2016. Campus Technology. Retrieved from https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/13/9-ed-tech-trends-to-watch-in-2016.aspx