In business incubators, technology labs and startup environments across the country, makerspaces have provided a place for like-minded individuals to collaborate with each other and with technology, which has spawned the maker movement. A makerspace helps provide people in the community with the opportunity to learn about, and explore the use of technology.
A recent study by the National League of Cities found that 26 percent of cities currently have makerspaces. As the movement grows in professional industries, it has also found potential with educators.
Makerspaces are starting to emerge in education, finding a place in schools and libraries. Teachers, administrators, and school program directors have begun incorporating the idea into their curriculums as they strive to find new ways to spark interest in STEM-related career fields.
One of the positives of makerspaces and the maker movement is that participants can mold the space into something that is tailored to them and their interests. For educators, this means allowing students to work with new technologies that spur creativity, collaboration and critical thinking in a team setting. The end goal is the same for the teachers; there is just a new vehicle by which that message can be delivered.
Makerspaces can play a positive role in providing students with access to technology. Through grants and donations, schools have been able to invest in these spaces, and the technology that goes with them, to provide students with an invaluable experience.
The 3D printer is an emerging technological breakthrough that has become in-demand in the makerspace. The second-generation Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 was designed precisely for student use. In May, Dremel will launch iOS and Android apps to provide students with the ability to design their projects remotely so that the learning process extends outside of the makerspace.
As the technology and education industries work in collaboration to reach students, makerspaces will continue to grow as avenues to inspire kids across the country.