The Maker Movement in Education: Achievements and Prospects

Introduction

The purpose of the current literature review is to investigate the historical background, analyze the current state, and suggest implications for future research of the Maker Movement in the system of education. The choice of the topic is associated with the growing significance of the Maker Movement in the modern educational system and its beneficial impact on creative and designing skills. The theme is crucial, as the implementation of Makerspaces allows to engage the young people in the process of inventing new things and encourage them to participate in a variety of projects. The review will discuss who initiated the Maker movement and how he did it. Also, it will evaluate the importance of Makerspaces and their impact on the enhancement of the system of education. The review will analyze a diversity of areas that benefit from the Maker movement. The sustainability and aesthetics of the movement will be discussed, along with the implications for further research. The criteria for literature selection were guided by the relevance of the sources and their reliability. The reviewed articles come from scholarly peer-reviewed journals which were published within the last five years. The authors of the articles are proficient in education and pedagogy, and they investigate various aspects of the Maker movement and its growing significance for schools and universities. The review focuses on such issues as the definition of the Maker movement and its core features, the impact of Makerspaces on the improvements in the system of education, and the suggestions of aesthetic, environmental, and sustainable approaches to Makerspaces.

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Definition of Maker movement and its elements

Dougherty (2012) traces the history of the Maker movement back to 2005. The author mentions how he founded a Make magazine and what outcomes it produced. Dougherty (2012) notes that the Maker Faire, which began in 2006, spread the ideas of the magazine. The Maker movement, as mentioned by Dougherty (2012), was initiated to allow people to create things that they did not know they were capable of creating. The movement became popular, and people started employing it in various spheres. The Maker movement was employed in government departments, business organizations, and education. Dougherty (2012) is convinced that the Maker movement is particularly significant in the educational process.

Environmental and sustainable implications of the Maker movement

Bullock and Sator (2015) agree with Dougherty’s opinion of the importance of the Maker movement in education. The authors note that the implementation of “maker pedagogy” may improve the decreasing interest of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education (Bullock & Sator 2015, p. 61). Bullock and Sator (2015) remark that the makers connect their activity with the comprehensive topics of sustainable development and environmental awareness. Such an idea is supported by Fontichiaro (2016) who argues that the Maker movement helps to maintain sustainability and teaches how to make potent decisions, save budget and energy, and build beneficial partnerships. Fontichiaro (2016) suggests several methods for designing sustainable maker projects. First of all, to provide sustainability, a project needs to employ reusable equipment capable of extension. The next piece of advice is to request donations (for instance, materials or used equipment items). Thirdly, Fontichiaro (2016) suggests sharing materials and resources among several schools within a district. Finally, the author recommends documenting the achievements and broadcasting pictures and videos to let more people know about the children’s endeavors and popularize one’s Makerspace (Fontichiaro 2016). Therefore, organizing a Makerspace in the frame of sustainability allows to save on finances and materials and invite more participants.

The role of Makerspaces in school settings

While the Maker movement is employed in various educational settings, it occupies particular significance in the school environment. Halverson and Sheridan (2014), Hira, Josly, and Hynes (2014), Kurti, Kurti, and Fleming (2015), Martin (2015), and Peppler and Bender (2013) investigate the role of Makerspaces in schools and classrooms. The key aspects that need to be considered in the research are the opportunities presented to school education by Makerspaces and the challenges which the movement meets.

Halverson and Sheridan (2014) describe the impact of the Maker movement on education by pointing out that there is a variety of Makerspaces at schools, such as learning design, technology, arts, and other areas. Halverson and Sheridan (2014) agree with Dougherty (2012) that people do not define themselves as makers. Thus, they need to be prompted to maker activity to see their full potential. At schools, the teachers’ role is to inspire the pupils to create. Teachers can concentrate on the students’ passions and create appropriate conditions for developing their talents. Halverson and Sheridan (2014) emphasize that Makerspaces help educators to percept learning as a process unified via projects and not as a separate skill collection. Following Halverson and Sheridan (2014), Kurti, Kurti, and Fleming (2015) note that educational Makerspaces are based on constructionism. The authors advocate an opinion that the Maker education is a division of constructivist philosophy that considers learning an exceptionally personal undertaking (Kurti, Kurti & Fleming 2015). This individual endeavor expects the students to commence the process of learning contrary to giving this role to teachers. In the perfect constructionist school setting, the border between the pupil and the teacher becomes faint. The pupils share ideas and solutions and decide how to overcome the problems, while the teacher takes the role of an observer (Kurti, Kurti & Fleming 2015). Martin (2015) investigates the role of the Maker movement in education by identifying its three constituents. The first element, according to the author, is represented via digital tools such as low-cost platforms and rapid prototyping instruments. The second constituent, as defined by Martin (2015), is the community infrastructure consisting of in-person events and online resources. The third element is “the maker mindset,” habits, and aesthetic standards of the community (Martin 2015, p. 35). The author considers the third element the most crucial for constituting the value of education. Martin (2015, p. 35) defines four constituents of “the maker mindset”: playfulness, orientation on growth and benefit, collaboration, and being failure-positive. Peppler and Bender (2013) also note the significance of Makerspaces in the school settings as they develop the students’ interest in arts and sciences. The authors emphasize that the makers are interested in creating things rather than merely consuming them (Peppler & Bender 2013). The Maker movement is considered as “an innovative way to reimagine education” (Peppler & Bender 2013, p. 23). Peppler and Bender (2013) agree with Fontichiaro (2016) that a teacher should not wait until a perfect Makerspace can be found but should use every opportunity and incorporate donated resources to encourage the students to start their projects. Apart from noticing the significance of Makerspaces at schools, Hira, Josly, and Hynes (2014) delineate the opportunities presented by classroom Makerspaces and the challenges met by them. The greatest benefit of such Makerspaces, as defined by Hira, Josly, and Hynes (2014) is their capability of contextualizing the principles of science through making. The process is believed to be more advantageous if the issues are connected with the things to which students are attracted. Another opportunity presented by Makerspaces is the consolidation of STEM disciplines on the way of upbringing decent citizens and professionals (Hira, Josly &Hynes 2014). The challenges associated with the Maker movement involve the problem of getting every child engaged in the activity, the diversity complications, and the difficulty of managing proper equipment and technology. Also, the preparation of Makerspaces consumes a great amount of the teachers’ time (Hira, Josly &Hynes 2014).

Conclusion

The Maker movement is a relatively new trend in the development of people’s creative abilities and, in particular, of students’ educational advancement. However, the movement’s history is rich in achievements and further prospects. Scholars investigate the constituents of the Maker movement, its divergent branches, and the outcomes of implementing the Makerspaces at schools. Many researchers agree that the employment of the Maker movement in school settings allows to encourages the students’ creative thinking, makes them feel more self-confident, and promotes their interest in learning. I agree with those authors who consider Makerspaces crucial elements of any school environment. Indeed, even when one starts a small project but does it with great enthusiasm, the results may be quite impressive. While there are many approaches to delineating the opportunities suggested by Makerspaces, little attention is paid to the difficulties experienced by the teachers who want to engage their students in Makerspaces. Therefore, an implication for further research questions is the investigation of the ways of overcoming the challenges to school Makerspaces.

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References

Bullock, S M & Sator, A J 2015, ‘Maker pedagogy and science teacher education’, Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 60-87.

Dougherty, D 2012, ‘The Maker movement’, Innovations, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 11-14.

Fontichiaro, K 2016, ‘Sustaining a Makerspace’, Teacher Librarian, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 39-41.

Halverson, E R & Sheridan, K M 2014, ‘The Maker movement in education’, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 495-504.

Hira, A, Joslyn, C H & Hynes, M M 2014, ‘Classroom Makerspaces: identifying the opportunities and challenges’, 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings, pp. 1-5.

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Kurti, S, Kurti, D L & Fleming, L 2015, ‘The philosophy of Makerspaces’, Teacher Librarian, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 8-11.

Martin, L 2015, ‘The promise of the Maker movement for education’, Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 30-39.

Peppler, K & Bender, S 2013, ‘Maker movement spreads innovation one project at a time’, Kappan, vol. 95, no. 3, pp. 22-27.

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