When I was a kid, I knew I could depend on a simple formula to succeed: Behave well in school, get into the right honors courses, go to the right college, get the right degree, and then climb the corporate ladder. This formula worked for my parents and for my grandparents. However, the world is changing. The ladder is gone, and in its place is a maze. Our students will inherit a world where change is the only constant, where automation will replace low-skilled manufacturing, and where artificial intelligence will replace analytical jobs.
For years, Google focused on hiring the best computer science students who excelled in their core content area. However, when they reevaluted this through Project Oxygen, Google found that the so-called soft skills were more important than content mastery. Relatedly, it turns out that students need empathy, problem-solving, flexible thinking, and collaboration skills in order to thrive in the creative economy. These are the types of skills students can develop in a well-designed school makerspace. Here are five benefits of having a school-wide makerspace.
1. A makerspace will help develop a maker mindset in your students.
It’s easy to walk into a school makerspace and assume that students are just goofing around and having fun. It can seem less like learning and more like play. However, something deep emerges from this play, as students define themselves as makers, inventors, and creators. Here, they are developing what Dale Doughtery describes as a “maker mindset.”