Have you ever wanted to take an idea for a real world object and make it real? Has a lack of know-how, materials, tools, space and time reasons stopped you from not pursuing it? Maybe you just have no idea how to even start!
Makerspaces are kindergarten playrooms - but for adults. They are places created with the specific purpose of allowing people to explore their own creating passions. From computer programming to product fabrication, a Makerspace is a place for the entire community, open to all, often outfitted with the most recent innovations like 3d printers, drones, Myo, and Sphero. It is a place for people to experiment with and create something new…and sometimes they are merely outfitted with old school technology like Lego and craft supplies. It’s a place to rediscover how to play, experiment and embrace your lifelong learning passions and actually create something that you care deeply about.
Although designed to be very useful as a solo adventure, the real benefit of a Makerspace comes into play when involving a community of likeminded individuals to “crowdsource” knowledge, skills and competencies in order to stretch and build upon existing structures, products and knowledge. It’s a place where beginners become experts and experts become masters all while developing their creative problem solving skills.
Failure, frustration, confusion and uncertainty are staples of a Makerspace which forces you iterate as often as possible. Make no mistake about it, Makerspaces are the crucible of creative work where only the passionate, determined, and stubborn will survive to fully realize a fully functional end product/goal. But in those times of self doubt and trial you will rediscover why you love learning and love the process of bringing play back into your work. In short Makerspaces boost self-efficacy through social modeling and persuasion and encourages us to persevere giving us invaluable experiences. This process trains our brains to use the stress generated in these spaces as a source of motivation instead of an insurmountable obstacle.
In today’s post-secondary institution we need Makerspaces for both students and faculty (think professional development). It would be very valuable for students to have a place for self-directed project work. For faculty it would cause incidental collisions with students and peers that would encourage community and social modeling/persuasion. If opened to the public it becomes a beacon of encouragement to the community, which would drive new students to the institutions halls.
The only downsides to a Makerspace are the initial costs associated with them and the square footage needed to create them, but for my money they are worth it.