Mobile Makerspace Carts: A Practical Model to Transcend Access and Space

Mobile Makerspace Carts: A Practical Model to Transcend Access and Space

Shaunna Smith (Texas State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2122-8.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter provides background into the maker movement, potential strategies for integrating the maker movement into educational environments, and a case study of a mobile makerspace model that leverages carts with small portable devices and free/open-source apps/software to enable equitable makerspace experiences to learning spaces in diverse areas and contexts. Acknowledging the vast options for creating makerspace experiences, this chapter suggests that space itself can be transcended by focusing on immediately practical ways to provide access (i.e. small thematic mobile makerspace carts that can be easily transported), provide activities and tools that address the unique interests of the participants (i.e. asking participant stakeholders what their goals and aspirations are), and establish a learning culture that empowers maker mindsets (i.e. structuring activities with constraints that enable, engaging university students in service-learning projects).
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Potential To Empower Learners Through The Diy Maker Movement Culture And Mindset

Inspired by the centuries-old handmade traditions of craftsmen/women from around the world, the modern maker movement and the do-it-yourself (DIY) learning culture are gaining traction throughout the world (e.g., Maker Faires, Maker Camps, library makerspaces, Etsy, Instructables, Hackaday). The education community is taking notice as the maker movement encourages “makers” to leverage a variety of means to create personally meaningful artifacts, including unique combinations of no-tech, low-tech, high-tech, paper, textiles, wood, metals, etc., in order to communicate a vision or express voice. In The Maker Movement Manifesto, Hatch (2014) reminds us that this time-honored practice is actually embedded within all cultures because “making is fundamental to what it means to be human” (p. 1).

But making isn’t so much about the tools as much as it is about the mindset. Dougherty (2013), the crowned “father” of the maker movement resurgence, accentuates this by emphasizing, “we can create a workshop or makerspace, and we can acquire tools and materials, but we will not have succeeded at creating innovative thinkers and doers unless we are able to foster a maker mindset” (p. 9). In the context of the potential to empower learners, two fundamental learning theories can be applied to the DIY maker movement:

  • 1.

    The social-constructivist belief that social interaction amongst a community of individuals enhances learning (Bruner, 1961; Dewey, 1938; Greene, 1995, 1977; Vygotsky, 1978), and

  • 2.

    The constructionist belief that knowledge is constructed when learners engage in the hands-on creation of and sharing of physical artifacts (Papert, 1991).

The DIY maker movement culture and maker mindset itself are very different from the learning landscape of traditional education experiences; however, it parallels project-based learning (PBL) and design-based learning (DBL) strategies used in more progressive schools. As such, it draws on characteristics, such as physical making that employs multidisciplinary approaches to solve problems (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014; Martin, 2015; Peppler & Bender, 2013, Quinn & Bell, 2014), sharing ideas and artifacts with others (Anderson, 2012; Sheridan et al., 2014), iteration that has a failure-positive approach (Martin, 2015; Sheridan et al., 2014), and individual autonomy that empowers maker/learner choices and control (Dougherty, 2013; Gershenfeld, 2012; Peppler & Bender, 2013).

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