Makerspaces a growing trend, but will they deliver?


Are makerspaces worth the effort or just another higher ed fad?

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to get started. As Dougherty says, “I’ve seen successful low-budget makerspaces start small and grow as they develop interest among students and faculty.” Also, you may want to invite the broader community to join in: tap in to expertise, interest, and opportunities that exist beyond your campus, and get others involved.

The makerspace at Sonoma State University in California has education students combine journals, sketchbooks, and electronics to create prototyping tools in the introductory course called Hack Your Notebook. Students use the makerspace to practice making paper circuitry and make connections across the science, technology, engineering, art, and math disciplines. Education students are taught how to create projects and activities for their own students. Carinne Paddock’s experience using the makerspace is documented on Sonoma’s YouTube channel, where she explains what she learned and how she has infused maker curriculum into her lessons for her fourth-grade students. Paddock emphasizes making mistakes, learning from them, and moving on.

Education students benefit by the approach of the maker mindset for K-12 students, resulting in children who take more risks and learn perseverance as they make and remake. The Hack Your Notebook course is a part of Sonoma State’s Maker Certificate Program, where educators can learn to incorporate making into their teaching.

Community collaboration and real-world skills are vital to today’s innovative economy. If implemented well, makerspaces have the potential to offer long-term benefits for higher ed, producing students who will be better prepared to handle the interpersonal, collaborative, and practical challenges of today’s workforce.

eSchool Media Contributors

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