A colleague recently shared this article, The Makerspace is Doomed, which points out without hesitation that makerspaces are doomed in their current incarnation in libraries and special rooms:

If you are unfamiliar with the Makerspace in schools, the most common type of Makerspace aims to both better expose students to STEM related fields and revive the lost art of making with one’s hands. Basically, it is Shop class 2.0. And like Shop class, the Makerspace is doomed. The Makerspace has five years left, ten if it’s lucky.

Chris Aviles, the author, points out that the Makerspace is doomed because it is a fad (well, heck, what isn’t in education except the love of a teacher for her students?) and money. Yes, makerspaces can be expensive, if not in actual budget (robots aren’t cheap), in time to gather all the inexpensive alternatives to robots. Really, what else can be dumped on librarians to do?

“An educator coaches individuals to become what is essential — to develop into human beings who are fully alive.”
Source: http://plpnetwork.com/2012/07/25/you/

Working as an educator for last zillion years, having seen many fads come and go, I like this excerpt from the article the most:

“I stopped the lectures and cut way back on the direct instruction. Instead, I got an LMS, recorded myself, and blended my classroom. I gave students choice and voice in what they learned…I tried to make learning as personal, relevant, and authentic as possible. I got cross-curricular….” 

For the author, his embrace of fads like interdisciplinary studies, blended learning, flipped learning, constructivist approach suggests that being “a maker” is already present in schools. This is just another label to describe digitizing arts and crafts, shops 2.0 as he called it.

What’s the connection to our work as educators, if any? I see synchronous instruction (F2F/Online) as lectures he describes. Recording oneself, providing choice and voice in what is learned with the opportunity to make it personal (learning content is a makerspace where learners connect experiences they value to active learning), relevant and authentic is the new trend.

Implications for edtech folks? We can accomplish this with a learning and development schedule that lessens our involvement with synchronous learning, the right technology that enables us to market asynchronous learning opportunities 24/7. This grants our students, adult learners in a global marketplace of learning, the ability to control their own destiny, to find what they want and learn however they want. We have to become extremely mobile and fluid in creating content on the go.

Makerspaces ARE a fad. But then, so is everything in education today. The question is, how do we surf the fads while providing a valuable service to those who choose (e.g. Innovators, Ealry Adopters, Early Majority or 50%) to embrace the next thing? And, how do we continue to nurture the inservice teachers (Late Majority, Laggards or 50%)?


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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