Makerspaces-Where innovators meet!
Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of active working spaces like Tinkering labs or Makerspaces. These are collaborative workspaces open to kids, adults, and entrepreneurs with equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons and even sewing machines. Also called hacker spaces or innovation labs, these establishments act as communal workshops to share ideas and tools. They can pop up anywhere, in schools, libraries, and community centers or one may create them at home. It speeds up your creative prowess and lets the innovator within you come to surface! Why are the numbers increasing?
In recent years, makerspaces have grown exponentially in numbers, about 2400 active spaces, 14 times as many as in 2006. The general perception of students has changed over the past decade and they have outshined traditional education and have been more creative. Makerspaces play a pivotal role in fostering STEM education which is of prime significance in recent times. Students may create anything from a simple windmill to a complex 3D prototype, it’s all about imagination and innovation. As a rule, project-based learning works much better than tools to motivate students than anything ever could. The definite increase in their numbers stands justified, but India still needs to keep pace with the trend.
How do makerspaces help?
Students who complete maker-based projects create real-world things. In order to complete one, they need to overcome several intellectual challenges in the process. It enhances their real problem-solving and analytical skills and prepares them to work in collaboration with their team. Makerspaces are often open for informal, unscheduled activity; generally not for credit and focus on a single skill, such as coding, soldering, or woodcarving. Supplies such as cardboard, plastic, metal, gears, wood, and batteries are needed, and available tools may include anything from a welding machine to a laser cutter. But certain materials and tools are emblematic of makerspaces, such as microcontrollers called Arduinos and 3D printers, valuable for fast prototyping. Makerspaces are arenas for self-directed learning. Their character, coupled with the tools and raw materials that support invention, provide the ultimate workshop for the tinkerer and the perfect educational space for individuals who learn best by doing.
Interaction among inventors at these facilities encourages a highly collaborative learning which is excellent for team efforts and for peer support and advice. They allow students to control their own learning as they take ownership of projects they have not just designed but defined. For a makerspace to thrive within a school, educators must prepare a curriculum that directly links the projects to real life examples. By creating project-based lessons and units that offer evidence of student literacy and growth in critical thinking offers a way better solution to the ideas of the students. Envisioning this as their primary aim,one company originated in India named 3Dexter helps you build that makerspace, with all the requisite tools and assistance to set them up within the school premises. As the world follows the ‘maker trend’, why should India lag behind?