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December 17, 2018

Why Makerspaces are Important Assets for the Library

importance of makerspaces
Have you ever tried to explain the importance of makerspaces to parents or administrators? It may be difficult to explain all the benefits. You may be unsure or a skeptic yourself to this new trend.

More than half of American schools currently have or are in the process of creating a makerspace within their library (to be exact it’s 54%, Project Tomorrow). The maker culture is forging a place for itself in school libraries and there is a reason why!

What is a Makerspace?

Makerspaces are places where students can create physical or digital products that solve a problem impacting people. These spaces get students to think deeper about concepts learned in the classroom, but with real-world application.

In case you are new to the makerspace concept, or a little hesitant– we are going to lay out all the facts of why library makerspaces are so awesome.

Access For All Students

We can all agree that the library is the hub of the school. Students come to the library seeking resources to help them discover and understand, whether that is to use computer labs or to check out further reading materials on a subject. The library is made for those seeking to learn more!

Library makerspaces are not exclusive to just STEM-related activities but can incorporate multiple disciplinaries at once. For example, you could have students develop a video game. At its core, it looks like it requires more code and engineering principles. However, when you break it down, creating a video game incorporates creating characters, a storyline, plot, design, writing code, developing a guide, and more.

Breaking it down, you can see that we are now incorporating social studies, writing, grammar, and science engineering in this one makerspace activity. Not to mention that all makerspace activities are deeply rooted in building skills like communication, collaboration, and creativity.

The Maker Mindset

Any good educator would see that these types of spaces make students excited to learn. But, makerspaces are also building critical twenty-first-century skills. In today’s evolving classroom, it is no longer sufficient for students to know the formulas, but to be able to apply their knowledge, pivot, revise, change, and see different perspectives– complex problem-solving at its best. Makerspaces are the platform facilitating the development of a maker mindset.

Maker mindsets are based in iterative, creative, and critical thinking. But, the most valuable thing about instilling maker mindsets in students is it empowers students to think and lead without needing to look to educators to facilitate the process of learning. Learn more about personalizing the maker mindset with these personalized learning makerspace activities.
A project-based learning experience is the best way for today’s youth to acquire college and workplace skills for maker mindsets develop:

  • Creativity skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Applying knowledge to practice problems
  • Collaboration with other students
  • Gaining confidence in their abilities

Learning is a Process

Makerspaces are designed to make students work through a problem from start to finish. When students are working on a project, they get to see the success and failure of their ideas. Best of all, students can learn far more through the process of experimenting.

Unlike traditional learning environments, trial and error is the process of learning. Students learn how and why a theory works, in a safe and controlled environment. Mistakes are teaching tools and when students are truly stumped that is when the collaboration and teamwork among peers can come into play (just like the real world).

Library makerspaces are important for student education.

Bottomline is library makerspaces are making great impacts on student education. Not only is it proven that students are retaining concepts and theories, but they are excited to practice them daily! Makerspaces are giving all students opportunities to access resources, develop twenty-first century skills, and see the results of their successes and failures.

Now that you know why makerspaces are so awesome, check out these tips on how you can kick-start your library makerspace.

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  1. Caron Drake says:

    Would like more information please.

    • Alexandria Library Software says:

      Hi Caron,

      We’d be happy to provide more information to you. Please let us know what you’d like to know so we can direct you in the right direction.

  2. Abby Smith says:

    Hi! This is a great article. We have implemented Maker Spaces at Amphitheater School District and we have loved the effect they have had on our students. We think that Maker Spaces make a huge difference in how students use creative problem solving skills!

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