Academic Makerspaces

Makerspaces are not about machines!  This common misunderstanding will drive imbalance within your Community- and the resources meant to support their evolution. Makersystems require a more thorough comprehension of what your community needs, and encouraging their development in promoting the fundamental values of what these spaces primarily provide:

Learning

Makerspaces are classrooms, where the community can receive or provide instruction on technical processes, technique and maker methodology.

Experimentation

Makerspaces are laboratories, where the community can ideate, prototype, make mistakes, reiterate and revise their products.

Empowerment, Autonomy & Agency

Makerspaces are cultural incubators, in which the community develops a sense of collective independence through building relationships, collaboration, problem solving and ownership.

  • Minimizing Barriers

Makerspaces support the evolution & realization of ideas through inter-disciplinary collaboration and accessible tech-resources.

Community Support

Makerspaces are technical support systems, in which the community’s needs are the driving factor/focus.

Depending on the type of space, these qualities can be heavily or minimally supported. The right system, has the right balance- focusing your efforts where the community requires support. It’s important to find out what your community needs. Generally speaking, there are three flavors of higher education makerspaces:

Specialize in providing equipment & technology resources with supervised instruction & use. Limited access increases with more staffing, with heavy focus on learning-by-doing. If Faculty, Staff, and/or Students need technical resources that require constant supervision & instruction due to equipment hazard-level or expense.

Specialize in providing an environment for learning, collaboration, fabrication & assembly. Access increases as community gains experience. Heavily focused toward collaboration and learning-by-doing & learning-by-seeing. If Faculty, Staff, and/or Students need a place to receive/provide technical instruction.

Specialize in providing unrestricted making via community efforts. Minimal boundaries, access increases with experienced community; heavily focused toward community and culture with generational transference of knowledge. If Faculty, Staff, and/or Students need a place to make, experiment, and collaborate with limited supervision.


Source: Making Makerspaces