Week 4 Reflection EDET693 Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

by Aleta May

Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

It seems to be true in my own experience that there are “two different philosophies of education battle: on one hand, the proponents of mass-produced instructionism, now powered by Internet video, and on the other, the advocates of the highly personal forms of learning that come from making, building, and creating one’s own theories” (Bilkstein, 2016, p. XV).

As a Reading Specialist, I learned that knowledge structures, schemas, develop or build: https://www.verywell.com/what-is-a-schema-2795873 Jean Piaget explained it as new information assimilating to new information the child has already learned and a new schema is accommodated to, learned (Cherry, 2016). As a Special Education Specialist, I have observed too often that in spite of the laws that require inclusion of students who struggle in our instructionism classrooms, they get “sent away” or left behind as the more average or advanced students go off to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) programs. Now we have an increasing population of groups from a variety of cultures, customs, and languages. Students need each other and more activities (alternatives), visuals, options to make sense of their world in the classroom and to note the connections to real life than ever before. And this need is going to increase. I like this quote from Bilkstein as well, “Constructionism has, at its heart, a desire not to revise but to invert the world of curriculum-driven instruction” (p. XV). I do believe after the readings, and watching video clips from classmates/colleagues this week, I see the definition of curriculum-driven instruction becoming more and more broad. Textbooks will need to be at least in part, digitized, so they may keep up with the information flood occurring daily. We also need to add to our pedagogy that it is indeed not only okay to question the textbook, but to seek out other sources to add to what is taught; then to construct an example of what this might look like.

Below are responses to blogs I gave throughout the week that demonstrate one part of constructivist learning and building on my own schema to accommodate to new thinking:


Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I was immediately drawn into the loft space I read about in your week 4 reflection. Making our classrooms more child-centered seems like it would be a natural conclusion of our education system.

There are more and more students who do not fit into the “traditional mold of academic learning.” Even the ones who “do fit this mold” could become so much more as far as creative, problem solvers. I think the primary goals of the maker space are student-centered learning spaces where they can take a prompt from a task card and use this to think about their thinking. This could really work well for expressing what was learned in a scene from a story or a science concept. I don’t think it is wrong to get students started or teaching them how to make things. In my view, it is more about not allowing any leeway for students to create—once they get going. What do you think?



Hearing from your 16 year old son cleared up a lot of my thinking. I realize I’m reading a lot about freedom in learning and self-directed learning. Yet, I think we need to get students started first. I need inspiration and ideas to branch off from. As an example, I used crochet quite a bit before I tried my own design. I used a book that showed a variety of stitches, found one I really like, then chose variegated yarn; but this beautiful afghan was preceded by several very basic looking scarves I had seen previously. It can be overwhelming to just walk into a makerspace and be told to find a space and make something. I view learning as an apprenticeship. The student learns by mirroring the teacher and then the teacher lets go—jumping in only as needed.



I completely agree that teaching students a growth mindset equates teaching them not to give up; and learning from our mistakes may mean taking a new direction to solve the problems. Beginning with Art class does seem like a natural way to start out with a MakerSpace. As teachers, we will very like begin to think of Art in a much broader way.

I plan to help build a centralized MakerSpace in the library, as soon as our SA gives the go ahead. In the meantime, I will most likely begin with one-on-one students that need to enhance their individualized reading / writing instruction. This may mean starting out with supplies directly related to their reading; for example, a younger student will look a lot different than an older student. They could work together, in an ideal situation. I have had 3rd graders help create a storyboard, then at another time of the day, have 7th graders add their art work to it or enhance the story a bit.



Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thank you for the web links! I especially explored this one: http://renovatedlearning.com/makerspace-resources/ although, both look great!

I really like the idea of J. Cooper’s high-tech options for a makerspace. Electronics and digital fabrication intrigue me the most—but that will expand for me by the end of this course, I’m sure.



Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Yes, the interdisciplinary aspect of makerspaces seems to be one of the most important. Also, the growth mindset—where they are free to think about what to try next time; the red pen—aw. . . such memories!

The space itself can be anywhere; big or small. I do like the idea of seeing the blend of technology (for building and for collaborating) with other materials. Page 12 of Makerspace Playbook seems to be a great place to start—complete with a first aid kit. Page 11 in the Youth Makerspace Playbook has a great tagboard bench area. I know I’ve always tried to set up centers in my home for the kids living there at the time. Right now it is a Lego table for grandchildren. A sewing area is emerging. We built our house to be kid and disabilities friendly; one level, larger living room space, wide doorways. We still need acoustic ceiling tile for controlling noise; funny! Still building our house after many years.



Bilkstein, P. (2016). Forward. In P. Blikstein, S. L. Martinez, & H. A. Pang. Meaningful making: Projects and inspirations for fab labs and makerspaces.

Cherry, K. (2016, 20 April). What is a schema? Retrieved 6-12-16 at https://www.verywell.com/what-is-a-schema-2795873

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s