In 2014, the White House hosted the first Maker Faire, a festival dedicated to creativity and invention. The festival sparked an interest in hands-on learning, creating the makerspace movement which has since spread to schools and libraries around the country.
The basic principle of a makerspace is to put learning in the hands of the student. It gives teachers a new way to inspire students and help them develop their critical thinking skills.
There is no specific plan in a makerspace, the main focus is on hands-on experimentation, exploration, building and collaboration. Any amount of technology can be provided, the only criteria is students are involved and interested. Activities can range from building robots out of boxes, 3D printing circuit boards or using virtual reality (VR) technology to explore the globe.
Makerspaces get kids interested in exploring STEM fields. They incorporate technology into a school’s curriculum in a way that helps kids develop their critical thinking skills. A makerspace is flexible and teaches students using project-based learning which is proving to be more effective at motivating students to learn than any other system. The flexibility of a makerspace gives students the time to think critically and understand what they are learning. Students can take apart computers and put them back together like puzzle pieces and learn to code in a way that makes sense to them.
Letting kids work in makerspaces seems to be the best thing schools can do to teach them invaluable skills for jobs that likely don’t exist yet. By changing the way kids learn today and turning them into “makers,” makerspaces potentially will change the way they’ll live and work in the future.
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