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How Is Makerspace Making A Difference In The Classroom


How Is Makerspace Making A Difference In The Classroom?

Most educational trends come and go, but some are so effective and engaging that they only grow in popularity with time. Makerspace caught on among educators about 20 years ago, and since then, the number of makerspaces has rocketed up. While you can find them practically anywhere, makerspaces are a natural fit for schools where STEM education is a focus. Not only are makerspaces a great reinforcer for STEM education, both teachers and students love them. It’s not easy to find an educational solution that drives better learning, creativity, and student engagement all in one package, but makerspaces check all the boxes.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

What Is A Makerspace?

It’s all in the name. A makerspace is a space where the purpose is to make things. While there’s no limit on what you can make in a makerspace (the idea is creative production, after all), in educational settings, it’s common to see STEM-focused spaces. Simple circuit-making, LEGO building, and robotics are all popular makerspace projects that students can handle with minimal guidance. That’s the great thing about makerspaces - they can be used to run structured lessons or allow students to explore without limitations. Many educators find that the best approach is a little of both. Start students out with a traditional lesson and they’ll get comfortable enough with the makerspace to captain their own projects.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

What Are Some Leading Makerspace Solutions?

Makerspaces vary greatly in their size, layout and contents, so there are few limitations when setting one up. A couple extra tables over there in the corner? That could be a makerspace. An unused, 5,000 square-foot auditorium? That could also be a makerspace. Size isn’t everything with makerspaces—it’s what’s inside that counts. That means technology and furniture that facilitate the creative process. To get the most out of your new makerspace, consider solutions like these:

Active, Modular Furniture

A lot of makerspaces are built to drive collaboration between students. Group projects are popular in makerspaces, particularly in schools that engage in STEM and robotics competitions. To facilitate both group and individual work, opt for desks and tables that can do both. Spectrum’s line of Aspire tables, for example, are designed to fit together in a variety of combinations. They’re built on casters, so when it’s time to split up, they can be wheeled to any spot by any student. Aspire tables are also available in several shapes, so they can be used with groups of any size. Another popular solution is Spectrum’s Flex Active Flip Table, especially in rooms where space is at a premium. The Flex Active Flip Table is also mounted on casters and provides plenty of desktop room to get STEM stuff done. When time’s up, though, Flex Active Flip Tables can be flipped up to shrink their footprint and make storage a snap.

Storage Furniture And Carts

Makerspaces can get messy with all of the making going on. Minimizing that mess is important to ensure every student has a chance to create. It’s much easier to keep things organized with storage furniture and carts, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Spectrum’s Exploration Station and Roller Teacher Station are two examples, and can be used to store a variety of materials. They are also designed with electrical outlets for device charging, which is always helpful in a STEM-focused space. Spectrum also makes storage carts that provide added functionality. The TechCenter cart, for instance, can be used to mount a dry erase board or digital display. Other options include the Pathway, Builder and Explorer carts, which can provide storage, organization, charging, and additional workspace for students. Spectrum even has a cart that can hold a 3D printer and 3D printing materials.

STEM Storage And Charging Modules

A lot of schools use their makerspaces to reinforce STEM lessons. That means a lot of device usage, and that means makerspaces need extra device storage and charging capacity. If cabinet space is at a minimum, another option is outfitting a mobile cart with STEM storage and charging modules. These modules can be easily added or removed from the cart. Spectrum produces a number of modules designed for its Pathway cart. The S1, S2 and S3 modules are compatible with an array of popular robotics devices, including Sphero, Ozobot, Cubelets and Wonder Workshop robots. When not in use, the robots can be stored, organized, and charged all at once, so they’re ready for the next class. Other storage and charging modules include phone, laptop and VR headset stations.

Interactive Digital Displays

If your makerspace is going to be used for structured lessons or collaborative work, interactive digital displays can make both easier and more engaging. Displays like the Clevertouch and ActivPanel are versatile makerspace solutions that can be used by the instructor or by students. Teachers can use an interactive display to introduce lesson material and media that get students inspired. Students can use the display to whiteboard their ideas and visually brainstorm together. If your makerspace is large enough, consider grouping your making spaces into pods and combining each pod with an interactive display. Teachers can control all of the displays at once this way and introduce the lesson without everyone needing to crowd around the instructor’s space.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Make The Most Out Of Your Makerspace With The Right AV Hardware

Making things encourages students to develop their creativity and express themselves in ways that aren’t possible in a typical classroom. Schools have caught onto this and are reserving space just for making, but space isn’t enough. Technology and furniture can unlock your makerspace’s potential, with solutions that make the making process more productive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]