Creativity, Critical Thinking Top Benefits of Makerspaces
Schools without a makerspace or without plans to implement a makerspace are now in the minority. According to data pulled from the latest national Speak Up Survey from Project Tomorrow, a full 31 percent of schools already have a makerspace of some sort, and another 23 percent have plans to implement one.
Of those that have already implemented a makerspace, the vast majority — 71 percent — have it located in the school library or media center (Figure 1). About 23 percent have it located somewhere else. And the remainder characterize their makerspace as "really just access to a 3D printer."
Parents, district administrators and members of the community see makerspaces as valuable for college and career readiness (Figure 2). When asked, "What do you think is the best way for today's youth to acquire college & workplace skills?" a majority in all three groups named project-based learning and "building things in makerspaces" in their responses.
Among those closest to the makerspaces in their schools — the library/media specialists — the top five benefits of makerspaces for student learning (Figure 3) included:
- Developing creativity skills (81 percent)
- Developing critical thinking and problem solving skills (80 percent)
- Applying knowledge to practical problems (78 percent)
- Collaborating with other students more
- Gaining confidence in their abilities
The data here were compiled in a survey conducted by Project Tomorrow involving 435,510 K-12 students, 38,512 teachers, 4,592 administrators and 29,670 parents. The Speak Up Survey was conducted between October 2016 and January 2017. More information can be found at tomorrow.org/speakup.