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4 Ideas When Considering Makerspaces

Posted on December 13, 2019 in: News

Inside schools, libraries and public/private facilities it has become common to have a makerspace designed without any tech tools to spaces utilizing only high-tech tools.  In the era of entrepreneurism and startups, the word “Makerspace’ means different things to different groups.  They all have the same purpose (making, learning, exploring and sharing), but no two spaces are created equal.   In short, all makerspaces exist to promote collaboration and creativity. 

There are some standard staples that should be considered when attempting to build an integrated workspace, whether in learning environments or public/private offices. 

Here are four ideas that anyone can incorporate into their makerspace in the learning environment or workplace: 

CREATE DEDICATED SPACE

For schools, carving out a place for “making” can take two forms.  A school can set aside or strategically design an entire classroom to becoming a makerspace, or it can integrate a space within an existing classroom.  Additionally, creating an integrated area that has hands-on relationships with the curriculum is easily accomplished with larger than normal worksurfaces.  More about that in a minute. 

For businesses, it’s paramount to be able to get teams in the same space during the various stages of any project.  When teams can brainstorm in a comfortable environment, critical thinking skills bring out the best group ideas.  This goes beyond a traditional conference room and incorporates comfortable furniture, technology, natural lighting, food & refreshments. 

DESIGN WITH WORKFLOW AND MOVEMENT IN MIND

The popularity of sit-stand desks is no amazing thing.  After all, sitting at a desk all day with minimal movement is not how humans were built.  In fact, studies show that sitting in the exact same position all day stifles creative thinking.  Aside from giving teachers a break, there’s a reason schools have recess!  So, when designing a makerspace allow people to get into different physical positions.  Businesses should have a “recess’ like atmosphere as well.  Incorporate small items like hacky sack or squishy balls for employees to play around with during brainstorms.  It’s during these times that movement helps the brain as well as the body.

THINK LARGER THAN NORMAL

Back to the larger than normal worksurfaces.  One common theme makerspace’s have is larger than normal items such as tables, giant chairs, floor-to-ceiling chalkboards and/or whiteboards, giant Lego’s, etc.  When one sees the largest ball of yarn, or worlds largest rocking chair it forces our brains to look at things from a different perspective.  The same goes with adding size into your makerspace design.

school can set aside or strategically design a makerspace classroom, or you can integrate a space for making into your existing classroom.

KEEP THE WRITTEN WORD ALIVE

It has been proven that humans retain and relate better to information when we write it out ourselves.  With floor-to-ceiling white boards, chalkboards and oversized post-it notes, team members gain that primitive feeling of writing down brilliant ideas. Writing down the same information in a Microsoft Word document doesn’t stimulate the brains of a group in the same way.  First, not everyone sees what is being typed.  Secondly, seeing something written on a large surface allows the brain time to process what was written.  Lastly, it allows for team members to “roam” over the written ideas in a manner conducive to their personality. 

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