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."

Creativity, Critical Thinking Top Benefits of Makerspaces 

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.

Creativity, Critical Thinking Top Benefits of Makerspaces 

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.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).