A 3-part guide to successful maker spaces

Cohesion between purpose, people, and parts & pieces are key to a successful maker program say experts.

A recent panel hosted by The New Media Consortium detailed a framework for designing maker spaces and maker programs, allocating resources, and supporting making as a quality learning experience.

Learners as Creators” was the latest webinar in the NMC Beyond the Horizon series, and featured insight from panelists Tim Carrigan of the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) and Peter Wardrip from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

The webinar comes at an opportune time, as maker spaces and the maker movement are increasingly emerging in college and universities over the past few years (e.g. MIT’s maker admissions, these collegiate maker labs across the country). The maker movement has provided an important outlet for students to bring their ideas to life through actions like modeling, prototyping and creating using a range of technologies and tools, such as 3D printing.

However, important questions have risen about how to best facilitate these activities through professional development, their evaluation and sustainability, and differences in institutional philosophies on making. As a result, Carrigan and Wardrip focused heavily on presenting promising practices and opportunities, as well as detailing challenges.

“We’ve developed this framework by doing mini case studies around the country,” said Carrigan. “We’re really hoping these resources and continued professional development will be useful to all practices, new or old.”

(Next page: Important tips for makers)

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