Maker Space 101: New Concepts in Teaching Creativity on Campus

Maker Space 101: New Concepts in Teaching Creativity on Campus
  • Opening Intro -

    Attracting students across a competitive global market is lucrative business for institutions looking to move away from traditional academic disciplines by staying relevant to today’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

    'Maker Spaces’ are entering the lexicon on campuses once used for dedicating new resources to recreation centers, libraries, and updated athletic facilities.

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The Maker Space Concept

Standing out from the crowd may not only be a universal concept among college students, it is also a goal embraced by Universities on a large scale. Attracting students across a competitive global market is lucrative business for institutions looking to move away from traditional academic disciplines by staying relevant to today’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

‘Maker Spaces’ are entering the lexicon on campuses once used for dedicating new resources to recreation centers, libraries, and updated athletic facilities. These new multi-disciplinary innovation labs focus on empowering students to work creatively across social boundaries and partner with the business community, the public sector, and other institutions in novel ways that push away barriers to technological and cultural development.

Entrepreneurial Partnerships

More than just labs for students to work on assignments, modern facilities allow students to think creatively and act on new designs and implementation. Partnership with industry fosters bringing new products to market while universities that emphasize entrepreneurship can guide students in developing their own business models and start-ups by transcending the normal divisions between academic and work life

Other approaches focus on the internal academic divisions within institutions themselves. Merging once isolated fields like sociology and engineering gives students and faculty new collaborative opportunities to discover solutions to increasingly complex global challenges.

Creating an inexpensive water filter or solar cooker from locally sourced scrap material in developing countries, to an infant incubator sourced from old car parts and headlights as heat lamps, are examples of the life changing, and life saving, innovations a maker space can inspire.

Hands-On Learning

Implementing these creativity enclaves helps universities attract students interested in acquiring multiple skill sets in emergent fields. Offering a hands-on curriculum with a more informal style allows students to more intuitively explore theoretical concepts by working together or individually in a way that sparks innovative and collaborative thinking.

A major difference between modern creativity labs and more familiar academic disciplines is the lack of standards by which each institution implements a maker space. Each evolves according to the varied personalities involved as well as the focus placed on the types of resources used in their creation.

From 3-D printers, electronics, computer design stations, and traditional hand tools, to centers that encourage creative writing across academic curriculums, students today have an abundant choice of schools offering new resources and learning styles to help them become the next generation of business, technology, and social innovation leaders.

Universities successful in building attractive centers for innovation and entrepreneurial development in the maker space would be well positioned to overcome financial challenges that plague many institutions of higher learning and will move them into the leadership role, developing the talent that will drive future sustainability and success on the global stage.

Spread the Word on FaceBook and Twitter

Sharing these ideas with friends and classmates may introduce them to new opportunities they may not be aware of on campus.

Additional information on the concept of academic innovation and the benefits of a maker space at school or in the community can be found at EdTech Magazine: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2015/02/making-makerspaces-work-campus

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