I was tasked with completing a Reading Capture assignment in my Research in Learning Design and Technology course (INTE6720). For one of my reading captures, I was interested in learning more about emerging types of makerspaces. I came across this interesting article and wanted to share my thoughts about it by posting my reading capture.
Torrey, T, Maloy, R.W., & Edwards S. (2018). Learning through making: Emerging and expanding designs for college classes. TechTrends. 62, 19-28.
This article explores how makerspaces can be integrated into higher education classrooms, both undergraduate and graduate level, and across all majors. The authors state that makerspaces are increasingly appearing in classrooms in colleges and universities in the United States. They also state that the New Media Consortium’s 2016 Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition, identified makerspaces as a key development which will shape the future of higher education. The authors identified many strengths of implementing makerspaces into classrooms, such as fostering collaboration, developing critical skills and creativity, and learning problem-solving skills. Torrey et. al. state that there is a lack of descriptive examples of how makerspaces can be embedded into college-level curriculums. Their purpose of this paper was to provide four case studies which provide examples of how they can be incorporated into the college classroom. These case studies highlighted makerspaces embedded into 1) first-year digital media production & 3D modeling, 2) poetry writing and 3D modeling and printing in a flipped learning course, 3) wiki page building workshops for future teachers, and 4) undergraduate/graduate learning, media, and technology courses.
The authors found that makerspace activities can be used in multiple disciplines. It was also determined that class-based makerspaces have the ability to teach real-world skills while benefiting from creativity and design, collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills. The authors also found that makerspaces can utilize digital as well as physical materials.
The strength of this study that stood out the most was the case studies that explained in detail how each course or major embedded a makerspace into the curriculum. It was interesting to read how this was done and would be beneficial to instructors on how to integrate their own makerspaces into their classes. Another strength of this study was the detailed findings of what they discovered in their research. Again, this would also be beneficial to higher education instructors.
A constructive critique of this study is that it would be beneficial to learn more about the students’ experiences participating in makerspaces in higher education classrooms. The case studies provided were very interesting and would be helpful for higher education instructors when implementing their own makerspaces, but to hear students’ opinions on these experiences would be more helpful in order to find out whether they were beneficial or not.
This study is valuable to higher education instructors or even middle and high school teachers who are interested in integrating makerspaces into their class curriculum. While the authors only cover four case studies, it provides a valuable overview of how it was done and would likely give educators an idea of how to get started on their own makerspaces.