ROLE OF MAKER SPACE IN EDUCATION

Before delving into the role of maker space in education lets first understand what a maker space is, what it does, and its inception. A maker space, as the name explains, is a space where you can ‘make’ something. A maker space provides space, tools and guidance to aid you in making what you aspire to make. It provides a space where you can experience, learn and reflect with other community members thus constructing new knowledge and accommodating older ones. Basically, it is an evolved version of libraries where knowledge building takes place using myriad of available books. But this being the era of technology literacy also has been upgraded to trans-literacy which hitherto merely constituted of adeptness in reading basic things, writing own name and few other inevitable words or sentences and basic arithmetic. Thus, calling a person literate who is out of touch with technology might be flawed. However, given the situation in India where sex ratio is skewed, education is a distant dream for many, millions are still struggling to fulfill their basic needs, and learning new technology is unneeded. However, there plight does not snatch the eligibility from them to get accustomed with the new technologies. Maker spaces engender people to get upgraded from being literate to being trans-literate.

Constructing knowledge is the new buzz word in town. Recently educationists have drifted from children being taught to children constructing their own knowledge. Constructivism has not taken birth yesterday. Construction has always been the prime learning style though we gained this familiarity recently. What exactly does constructivism construes? In simple words constructivism proposes that children and adults can make their own knowledge and understanding through gaining experiences and reflecting on it to form new knowledge. Children, adults and everyone has been constructing knowledge since time immemorial. In an experiment undertaken by Sugata Mitra (http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education?language=en) he embedded a computer into a wall of a slum in New Delhi. Children of this slum had neither seen a computer nor knew nothing about internet. He just left the computer there for a couple of months. He visited the place after few months and he saw children playing on the computer, teaching each other and using it effortlessly. This is was is construction of knowledge means. This learning style has taken over the market and every school is adopting constructivism.

Maker space can be inside the school or can be a place in the community where the community members can avail its services. Though maker space is open to all irrespective of the age but for children it is a paradise. They can use the space, tools and services and under the guidance of experts make anything they dream of ranging from art, to engineering to toys etc. Children can have hands on experience of many things, they are not bound in any way, they can gain expertise in things they enjoy and paramount function of a maker space is to help children apply the knowledge in order to know the intricacies of the concept. The focus is not on gathering as much information as possible but on using this information such that its importance can be felt.

Makerspace can play a major role in education from kindergarten to college level. It has the capacity to re-shape and re-imagine education such that it becomes available for all. Skill development being the foremost forte of maker space children can actually get a platform to showcase and facilitate skills required for better life and work. Concepts written in the textbooks can actually be seen alive many a times. Maker space due to its unique platform can really change the face of education.

Blog Written By:

Tanvi Parwal

Educationalist

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