A Makerspace is simply a place that allows individuals to create a project of their choice. Each Makerspace varies in its facilities, participants and supplies but they each retain the same set of values. A Makerspace provides a playful learning atmosphere that is growth-oriented, failure-positive and collaborative (Martin, 2015).
The mindset is the core foundation of the Maker Movement that encourages others to partake in the concept.
“every student has the ability to invent, tinker, create and innovate” (Kurti, 2014c., p.20).
It is believed that “ by providing students space and resources and inviting them to experiment, we can empower them to think of themselves as something other than consumers” (Canino-Fluit, 2014, p.22). Makerspace should “encourage your students to make autonomous decisions and build independence” (Canino-Fluit, 2014, p.22).
Makerspaces seem to be on the cutting edge of today’s popular educational models and theories. Makerspaces closely align with the ideas of the constructivist learning theory in which hands-on learning is a central focus (Kurti, Kurti, & Fleming, 2014a).
As science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and problem based learning (PBL) models begin to gain popularity, the concept of Makerspaces with its basis in science and engineering as well as its ideas of student-driven problem solving, fits snugly within them.
Research (Bowler & Champagne, 2016) suggests that Makerspaces encourages students’ problem-solving skills and collaboration, two key components employers are looking for in today’s workforce (Caron, 2011).
“A Makerspace project is intended to teach students how to think for themselves and problem solve and to get students interested in getting a job in technology, science of engineering” (Graves, 2014, p.8).
The Maker movement began within the last decade among adults with an interest in tinkering and creating.
Makerspaces popped up in community organizations and public libraries all over the world.
Overtime, universities began to pick up the movement in an effort to encourage students into engineering fields.
Not surprisingly, in efforts to better prepare students for the jobs of the future, the K-12 setting has begun to take notice of the movement and it is beginning to trickle down into our school libraries.
The library has always been a place for students to research and make book selections, as well as a place to support and collaborate with teachers (Smay & Walker, 2015). Education, however, is constantly evolving and the library within schools are no different. Today’s library must stay current with the trends of our society and serve as a place that is an extension for student learning.
“Librarians are continuously asked to look to the newest technologies and be knowledgeable in the latest trends. They are the technology leaders of our schools” (Moorefield, 2015, p.108).
Makerspaces is one way for the library to keep up with current trends.
While a Makerspace does not look like a traditional library setting:
“Makerspace values closely align with academic libraries’ missions and goals” (Purpur, Radniecki, Colegrove and Klenke, 2015, p.131).
Even the White House has identified the values of making. President Barack Obama, in his proclamation of the National Day of Making, said “together, let us unleash the imagination of our people, affirm that we are a Nation of makers, and ensure that the next great technological revolution happens right here in America” (White House, 2014).
Makerspaces however, are a fairly new practice with limited empirical research. As teachers and media specialists begin to dabble in the concept of Makerspaces they are left with a plethora of questions about their implementation. With such a broad definition of what a Makerspace actually is, educators struggle to define them and many fail to understand how to implement a Makerspace on their own.
The purpose of this study is to identify teacher’s needs and desires regarding professional development for incorporating Makerspaces. More specifically, the research questions guiding this study are: How do teachers define them? What do they need help with to integrate a makerspace mindset into their current teaching? What are some of the barriers and enablers according to teachers regarding this issue?