A makerspace is where you can find tools and technology for community members to share as they invent, build, and create. Here where people with common creative interests, in computers, technology, science, art, electronic art, crafts, and sewing, can meet, socialize, and collaborate. It provides opportunities for people of all ages to create, experiment and collaborate in a self-directed hands-on learning environment. Some of the possible uses for the Makerspace include:
Makerspaces are zones of self-directed learning. Their hands-on character, coupled with the tools and raw materials that support invention, provide the ultimate workshop for the tinkerer and the perfect educational space for individuals who learn best by doing. They promote multidisciplinary thinking and learning, enriching the projects that are built there and the value of the makerspace as an educational venue.
When not in use, the Makerspaces are available as a Co-Working Space for home-office or startup workers to conduct meetings. It will have whiteboards, large screen monitors for collaboration and videoconferencing as well as an enclosed meeting room.
To start with, a FabLab and Techshop are trademarked names for a makerspace. They are both generally stocked with similar types of maker equipment like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, hand tools etc.
A FabLab is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication. They define a FabLab in their own words as “a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. It is also a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent.
Techshop is a chain of for-profit makerspaces. They bill themself as part prototyping and fabrication studio and part learning center. Their makerspaces are supported by monthly fees from the maker/members who join.
Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables making.
Different makerspaces look different, depending on the type of learning that’s happening at the time. Sometimes it might include things like cardboard and duct tape, and other times it might consist of items like laptops, microphones, and green screens. A makerspace can take the form of a mobile cart that can be shared between classrooms, a set of stations that students rotate between, or a variety of materials and equipment that live in various parts of the classroom, accessible to students when the need arises.
The most important quality of a makerspace is that it encourages creativity. This can be done with a space full of hand tools, materials, and finished projects. Such spaces are not all serious work and experiments. There can be an element of fun, as well.
A makerspace is an excellent concept that can help build a culture of innovation at the university level. It can be a fabrication laboratory, a hacking place, a tinkering space, an innovation lab, or any combination of those. Makerspaces, by function, can also remove the fear of failure from the minds of students. They can improve a student’s risk-taking ability, and hence confidence. Universities that believe in the philosophy of experiential learning can aim to attain a higher level of maturity by providing the right kind of facilities in their makerspaces.