Building a MakerSpace

Let’s say you’re part of an institution — a church, a library, a school — that’s decided to start a MakerSpace. You’ve read all the books, skimmed numerous articles, watched all the videos, and gotten the go-ahead from your stakeholders. You hired a contracting company, and the workmen are going to be ripping out walls and installing new electrical wiring any week now. You are completely confident in your plan, and you are sure that you have thought of everything. 

But what if you haven’t?

There are at least seventeen major errors that we are aware of, that most schools and libraries have failed to think about. Many of them have to do with the curious blind spots these organizations have with regard to planning for maker spaces and maker programs.  And unfortunately, the more money the organization is throwing us for your Mischel launch of their maker space, the more likely it is that they will make a greater number of these serious mistakes. Shortsighted thinking in favor of “building is now “can lead to costly and painful decision making later on. It can hamper the growth of the maker space program, and it can block it from becoming fully integrated into the institution’s existing program.

email us, or give us a phone call. Guide you through our checklist of common problems, risks , and opportunities.  For our low introductory consulting fee, we’ll guide you through the shoals where you are navigating blind. 

New Article on MakerSpaces in Schools and Libraries

Andrew Watt, our Creative, just wrote this 4,000 word article on MakerSpaces in schools and libraries, following up on his appearance at EdCampSWCT yesterday.

It’s available here.

The big reminder is at the end:

F. Buckminster Fuller was assigned the task of writing the history of America’s technological innovation to reach the Moon. It was expected to be a celebration of American technological advances, and a series of biographies of great American inventors whose engineering accomplishments resulted in humanity’s march to the stars.  Yet in the first chapter of that book, Critical Path, Fuller admits that it was less a case of American ingenuity that sent the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon’s surface, but rather the ingenuity of humanity — ceramic parts for the Saturn 5 rocket had been made that used porcelain recipes that were six thousand years old; bronze-alloy couplings that relied on four thousand year old metallurgy helped the rocket’s various stages separate from one another when the bronze melted away under intense heat.

I invite you, readers, to think of yourselves like that — that your task as MakerSpace teachers and librarians and archivists, is to be oriented on what humanity has already done, technologically, and to help students understand the old technologies so that they can borrow from them to develop new solutions to problems.

And a Shout Out…

If you or your school would like assistance in putting these principles into action in your school, please be in touch.  I am available for consulting services; or to run workshops on sewing, bookbinding, or basic carpentry for teachers and MakerSpaces; or for ongoing coaching services for new MakerSpace atelierists.