Five Benefits of a School Makerspace
One of the new initiatives at AIS this academic year is the makerspace, currently available to students of grades 5-7. The purpose of the makerspace is to encourage students to unleash their curiosity and give free reign to their creativity. They are guided to design and make things in order to bring ideas to life and grow into skilled problem-solvers and innovators of tomorrow. Here are some of the benefits that students get from spending time in the makerspace every week:
Making inspires innovation
The lateSteve Jobs famously said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” At the crux of innovation is freedom to experiment and of course fail. Having the time and space to try out ideas and tinker with different materials helps children gain confidence in their abilities and become better problem solvers. In the makerspace. students are no longer passive consumers of information or knowledge, but rather active creators and innovators. Working independently on projects that are meaningful to them helps young learners take charge, think on their feet, and be responsible for their own learning. The final product or result is not nearly as significant as the process of making and tinkering that sparks useful mental connections and shapes the thought process and vision of young people. This empowers them to step out into the real world as thinking, enterprising innovators
Making sparks a brain boost
Research by psychologists Robert and Michele Root Bernstein has shown that activities involving use of the hands sparks a brain boost that bolsters skills such as observing, visual thinking, and pattern recognition.
A large part of the brain’s somatosensory cortex is connected to the hands, so activities that engage the hands expand the intellect. In fact, many prominent scientists including Einstein indulged in hobbies connected to the hands. Therefore, working in the maker space helps engage and stimulate the brain to help young learners acquire skills such as trial-and-error problem solving, perseverance and grit.
Making fosters independence
While in a classroom setting, students are often dependent upon the teacher to further their learning but in the makerspace, the processes of ideation, tinkering, experimenting with new ideas, making modifications and striving for success help young people become self reliant and intrinsically motivated learners. This is an invaluable trait to have in the 21st century world where professional setups require independent thinkers who can
Making builds resilience
Learning to deal with failure is one of the most valuable life lessons that regular schooling often does not impart. Makerspace serves to teach students that failure is but an integral part of the learning process. It should not be considered the end result or lead to quitting . The makerspace is a place where learners can learn from their mistakes and debacles without it affecting their grades or academic performance. This equips them for future success.
Making encourages resourcefulness
An oft overlooked benefit of making is that by repurposing what’s readily available, we conjure a sense of resourcefulness, creativity, and empowerment. Psychologist Rollo May has defined creativity as the process of combining old elements to bring something new into being. In the makerspace, students can utilise waste materials like broken objects, material fragments, abandoned toys, etc. to create something meaningful or utilitarian. This imbibes a mindset of making he most of resources and thinking in creative ways to turn junk into treasure.