In short, a student makerspace is a classroom in which students with shared interests, particularly in technology, can gather to collaborate on school projects while sharing equipment and ideas. If you're in search of tips and tricks for creating a makerspace in your school, look no further. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you build it out.
Make it Diverse
What sets a makerspace apart from your average woodshop, computer lab or art room? A makerspace is a little bit of everything all rolled into one. This means that the space must be furnished to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials in order to facilitate the exploration of a wide variety of activities. From woodworking and sewing to building and computing, there's a wide range of activities your makerspace may include, and that will be up to you to decide upon. Just make sure the space is diverse enough to appeal to students with a wide range of interests and natural abilities.
Keep it Collaborative
A defining factor of the student makerspace is its ability to promote collaboration between students. Not only should students be able to learn more about using different tools to create new things, but they should also be able to learn techniques from one another through the sharing of knowledge and ideas. How do you accomplish this? First, keep the space as open concept as possible. Utilize large islands as shared workspaces rather than having individual desk spaces for students. Mix up your workstations by having some be standing height and other include stools or collaborative-based chairs.
Put Technology at the Forefront
Technology is at the root of a makerspace, and steps should be taken to ensure your students have everything they need to access information and stay connected. Keep laptop and tablet charging carts in the classroom, and make sure there are enough outlets to suit your class sizes. You may want to include power towers to ensure laptops and tablets will be able to stay charged at a moment's notice. You'll also want to ensure the furniture in the makerspace is appropriate for the types of technology students will be working with. For example, some areas may benefit from traditional student desks while others may work better in a single large table or lounge setting.
No matter what types of activities you want to facilitate in your makerspace, take the time to consider your student body and what type of space, furniture and accessories you need to provide in order for them to be successful. Brainstorm with teachers, carefully consider what goals need to be achieved, and remember that NBF offers space planning services completely free of charge. Ready to learn more? Call a furniture expert at (800) 558-1010 or shop our full selection of makerspace furniture and accessories.