If you’re looking for makerspace ideas for libraries in elementary school, high-tech high school fab labs, or just a way to repurpose some old materials, it helps knowing how to get started. There’s no specific formula for how to make a makerspace, but over the years, we’ve become increasingly in tune with what educators are looking for in terms of both MakerEd technologies and implementation guidance. While it’s great to incorporate some of the more powerful options for makerspace technology, we know that maximizing your budget is also a huge factor and, with that in mind, our team has become adept at assisting educators in finding, attaining, and maximizing their makerspace wish lists – and we’d love to help you launch a new makerspace or redesign the innovation area currently in your school.

Makerspaces can help educators create dynamic and real-world learning scenarios for students, but they don’t have to always include all the bells and whistles. It’s important for teachers to narrow down the types of maker technologies they want to use and decide what would add the most value to their space since there are so many types of makerspaces. Just because you have access to what’s cutting-edge in the educational technology space doesn’t mean it will necessarily translate to valuable making experiences. Instead, our team focuses on highlighting productive technologies that students can use to create and develop hard skills while they improve soft skills. 

Maker education offers kids the chance to learn actively, fail, collaborate, create meaningful projects, and even begin to understand how they can enhance their social and emotional skills by connecting with themselves and others on a deeper level. In makerspaces, students can use everything from simple, everyday objects to state-of-the-art 3D printers to design, build, create, and invent. With the right guidance, however, they can also start associating makerspace experiences with expressing themselves, connecting with others, and fostering student agency.

As the Maker Movement has made its way into the education world over the last few years, educators have found certain value in hands-on maker education. And, as teachers typically do, they’re wise enough to align the features, learning opportunities, and attitudes that their makerspace helps foster with overall student development. This includes focusing on feeling freedom to create, encouraging collaboration, and adapting to current teaching, learning, and even social trends in order to create the types of makerspaces that they can use to more deeply connect with students.

In 21st century education, makerspaces provide such a valuable opportunity for students to take part in non-traditional learning experiences, like inventing, collaborating, tinkering, and more. We know that there are certain curricular requirements that must be taught in the classroom, but we think that ignoring the ways in which STEAM tools can help do just that would be a tremendous oversight. Makerspaces give students the freedom to utilize self-paced learning, personalize their problem solving, and try new ways of building, tinkering, and getting their hands dirty. They often just need the space and a little inspiration to get started.

So, how can you get started with designing a school makerspace? Well, one route could involve familiarizing yourself with your school or district’s physical resources. Is there an extra room in your school that’s ready for repurposing or could it be cleaned out without a monumental feat of human strength and patience?  

Also, what kinds of supplies does your school or district currently have? When starting a makerspace, it’s important to look at things – both big and small – from a lot of different angles. Sometimes, the best makerspace tools are low- or no-tech items, like paper towel rolls, milk cartons, construction paper, glue, or empty plastic bottles. Think about whether you could find some of these lying around your school.

The next step would be to make a list of any other materials that would be engaging for students and help them get the physical benefits of inventing as well as some of the helpful SEL experiences. Basically, that’s where we come in. Among the assistance we can offer is recommendations for STEAM and MakerEd tools to use in a makerspace. If you want to go low-tech with some simpler maker tools, like Tech Will Save Us, no problem. If you want to get your students’ feet wet with entry-level 3D printing without overwhelming them and think the 3Doodler would make a nice option, we can help.

We’re familiar with the latest offerings in the STEAM education space and know how to help makerspace leaders incorporate tools that span from circuitry kits to educational robots. The best part is that we love establishing 1-on-1 relationships with educators and we’ll work directly with school or district leaders to offer any kind of consultation we can, support with tech rollouts, and provide guidance to help you create a space that’s as unique as your students!

We know that no two school makerspaces are the same and our experts are committed to offering you a personalized plan that places your needs as well as the academic and social needs of your students at the center. We want to know what it is you and your students want to accomplish with your makerspace design and we’ll help ensure that your EdTech selection process meets those expectations.

To us, it doesn’t really matter what stage of the makerspace adventure you’re in or how much or how little experience you have with maker education initiatives. All we want to do is help classroom teachers, technology specialists, and librarians create and facilitate innovative learning opportunities for students to get their hands dirty, collaborate with new people, maybe break something from time to time, and then experience the thrill of putting it back together.

To get started with designing a makerspace that will excite your students, we encourage you to poke around the various categories of our store, which you can find in blue at the top of the page. If you see something you like, you can start building a quote on our site at any time (just create an Educator Discount account first and log in). Or, simply click below to contact our team of makerspace experts and we’ll be ready to work with you. 

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