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Resources for Makerspaces (March 2019): Making and Learning

by Janet Ochs, Richard Powell, and Lisa Czirr

Making and Learning

The resources in this section explore the connection between makerspaces and learning, and how making influences the curriculum. For instance, part one of a two-volume set, Makeology: Makerspaces as Learning Environments, by Kylie Peppler, Erica Halverson, and Yasmin B. Kafai, examines hybrid, online, out-of-school, and pre-kindergarten through post-secondary (P–16) makerspaces. The authors provide specific examples of making within the P–16 curriculum, highlighting work funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Intel Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The book also highlights challenges for online maker communities and reviews the use of resources such as competitions, video production, blogging, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), and social media.

Volume 2 of the Makeology series, Makers as Learners, explores makerspace educational outcomes and the culture and identity of makers, emphasizing making in disciplines such as engineering, computer science, and art. The book describes maker-centered learning, discusses why digital making matters, demonstrates makerspace tools in action, and investigates the motivations for making.

In Lifelong Kindergarten, Mitchel Resnick argues that we are evolving from an information society to a creative one, where a lecture-based education no longer suffices. He advocates instead for a making-oriented educational approach that fosters creativity, play, reflection, and collaboration. Resnick provides insights for educators and shares case studies to illustrate the connections between creating and learning, making his book a valuable resource for readers interested in pedagogical practices.

Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager argue that making is a formidable way to learn in Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. The authors discuss the work of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert, Paulo Blikstein, Neil Gershenfeld, Dale Dougherty, and others. Emphasizing the importance of fabrication, physical computing, and programming, the authors offer helpful tips for using these technologies, including practical guidance on managing makerspace inventory, enhancing the physical space, building support, and obtaining resources. This book is not only an outstanding introduction to making in K-12 education but also a helpful resource for anyone interested in teaching.

The Makerspace Workbench by Adam Kemp is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to starting a makerspace, from building a space to components and how to use them. Readers less familiar with makerspace equipment will appreciate the step-by-step guidance and clear directions about the various machines. The book’s last chapter is particularly valuable for schools, as it addresses how to use makerspaces in teaching—offering several projects for STEAM (science, technology, arts, and math) lessons. This valuable resource should be on hand in spaces with an educational focus, from school libraries to classrooms.