As with every “new” education buzzword, “making” is becoming an appealing idea for educators to gather around. If you have spent any time at all in the education community, you know that ideas like “making” have their 15 minutes of fame and then move out of the limelight for a newer theory.
Making, though not necessarily in Makerspaces, has been around for many years under the clunkier title, “constructionist learning.” In many classrooms, educators gravitated toward this type of teaching and learning to engage learners who were difficult to reach otherwise.
In my opinion, making is here to stay. It will become a natural part of the school library or, hopefully, even the classroom to engage students. Making will become another tool for educators to use to engage learners, much the way they now introduce learning in a variety of ways to reach out to many learning styles.
With the unprecedented access to information that students have, educators must move forward from knowledge holders and presenters to information mentors. Students can freely access the information necessary for most of their learning. Educators will guide students to use this information to build curriculum foundations as well as lifelong learning skills supporting curiosity and imagination.
The notion of creating STEM learners from making is a natural conclusion. Most STEM learners are innovative and engaged in some hands-on activity. Once all students are exposed to a maker environment, many more will follow their learning into experimentation and design. In this way, educators will give wings to students’ curiosity.
Are all students makers? Yes. All students have the capacity to take knowledge from most environments. Each student should not be expected to create an innovative, never-before-seen artifact but to acquire skills and knowledge that moves their learning forward and tempts their curiosity. If a student willingly makes the makerspace a comfortable place to investigate and experiment, then, yes, all students will be makers.