What is a School Makerspace?

08 Sep 2014

A school makerspace serves as a gathering point for creating and exploring. These spaces aid in increasing student engagement and creating an active learning environment. Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes. In schools, these areas are often found in the computer labs, libraries, or media centers. The idea behind the maker movement is experimental play that engages students. Makers are invited to play with new technology to inspire learning through exploration. Students might take things apart, build, or experiment with new technology. 

When designing a makerspace for your school the goal is to balance social interaction with individual exploration. It’s a delicate balance to provide large work areas with individual workspaces, while keeping students close enough together so they can inspire each other with ideas.

Maker Media’s digital ebook: Makerspace Playbook: School Edition gives some suggestions for designing creative makerspace school environments:

  • Design a “hang out” area with large work areas and comfortable seating
  • Stock up on diverse tools and materials that involves arts, crafts, engineering, science, and technology
  • Keep an idea box where members can throw in objects that may inspire others
  • Showcase past projects and current projects to give students some inspiration

As Interior Concepts works with schools to design makerspaces across the country we’ve noticed several product trends that have helped schools to create a flexible and fun workspace:

  • Unique table shapes with whiteboards to increase collaboration
  • Mobile work areas with storage for projects and learning tools
  • Adjustable height mobile podium for the teacher provides a flexible work area
  • Comfortable stools and chairs

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We know that learning can happen anywhere. Makerspace areas, STEM labs, and 21st century classrooms are areas that a dedicate a physical space in the school to introduce students to new technology and exploration that can help to ignite a passion for learning. Every makerspace will be different, and the important thing is just to get started. For more information on school makerspaces check out the ebook from Maker Media via the link below. If you are interested in learning more about STEM lab design download our free STEM Lab planning guide.

Reference
(2013). Makerspace Playbook: School Edition. Maker Media. Retrieved from http://makerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MakerspacePlaybook-Feb2013.pdf.