With Indiana’s pre-service teacher applications in decline and makerspaces on the rise, there is a need for the IU School of Education to update their approaches to attract and prepare a new generation of teachers for the kinds of challenges they may face in their career. At the same time, makerspaces need educators that come into the spaces with ideas for facilitating holistic and diverse making based on educational theories and practices learned at their university.
Makerspaces in higher education institutions make it possible for pre-service teachers to use the kinds of tools and materials that can regularly be found in makerspaces but have not been traditionally integrated in learning spaces like classrooms and pre-school but are more frequently being integrated in formal and informal learning spaces, such as libraries, museums and schools. Pre-service teachers can try out making models with 3d printers, craft projects with the laser cutter, assemble electronic circuits, or simply design and prototype with common materials like cardboard or legos. By exploring the materials and tools and letting the material guide their ideas for learning opportunities and educational adventures, pre-service teachers can practice those skills that are in demand in makerspaces that all too often do not have curricular based on educational theory. These explorations can support teachers in taking back charge of the design of learning.
During the 2014-2015 school year, Dr. Kylie Peppler led an interdisciplinary faculty committee within the School of Education at Indiana University that began an initiative to design and build a makerspace in the School of Education. A space suitable for innovating, collaborating, creating, prototyping, learning and general making. The result will be the MILL (Make Innovate Learn Lab) and renovations are set to happen this summer 2015. We are beyond excited about having the new space!
As the We had the opportunity to tag-along, observe, and participate. In relation to the DML commons unit of co-design and collaboration in DBR, we think this is an interesting example of how interdisciplinary collaboration and pushing of institutional boundaries happened in a shared effort to setting the foundation for making the vision a reality. We outline here key decisions and practices we observed that seemed to have been instrumental for co-constructing a coherent narrative vision for and around the space and for laying the infrastructure for the successful continuation of this collaborative endeavor.
MILL Space Committee includes representatives from Science Ed, Art Ed, Instructional Systems Technology, Learning Sciences, the Office of Instructional Consulting, Education Technology Services & other School of Education departments. This collaborative committee effort underlined the message for the makerspace to serve the needs of several departments in the IU School of Education. The primary objective of the committee is to extend collaboration across school departments and to enrich the vision for the space from diverse educational perspectives coming from students and faculty. A large part of the committee conversations centered around the makerspace as a place to make stuff AND to represent a starting point for shifting the culture in the IU School of Education. In particular, the idea was to encourage thinking about challenges and design opportunities while making and engaging with material prototypes. While the makerspace is primarily aimed at the students, staff and faculty of the IU School of Education, the committee frequently thinking about how the space can extend the reach of collaboration to community partners and local K-12 schools.
- University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s Student Education Learning Factory(SELF) Design Studio
- Stanford School of Education’s Fablab@School