Impacts of makerspaces for primary students - Education Matters Magazine
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Impacts of makerspaces for primary students

Makerspaces can be highly effective at developing primary school children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills, according to a new research report by Macquarie University.

Though makerspaces have been widely adopted as a way of developing STEM abilities and soft skills, there has been little research that investigates the learning and teaching outcomes they can achieve, particularly for younger students.

From August 2017 to July 2018, Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies partnered with the NSW Department of Education, Carlingford West Public School, Parramatta East Public School, Oatlands Public School and Makers Empire for a research study on maker pedagogy and makerspaces in primary schools.

The 282-page report was authored by Associate Professor Matt Bower, Dr Michael Stevenson, Professor Garry Falloon, Dr Anne Forbes and Dr Maria Hatzigianni from the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University.

The research examined how maker activities using 3D design and 3D printing technology could enhance learning and teaching outcomes. Teachers from three schools undertook Makers Empire’s Learning by Design professional development course and participating students used Makers Empire’s 3D modelling software.

The findings highlighted the sorts of benefits that could be achieved through this type of learning in primary school settings.

Researchers noted that students involved in the study were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges.

According to the findings, teachers involved also became more comfortable with the technology, and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching. All of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.

“It’s wonderful to have our work validated by this kind of rigorous academic research,” said Jon Soong, CEO of Makers Empire.

“Makers Empire works with thousands of educators teaching hundreds of thousands of students and it’s vital for schools to know that our products are genuinely effective and engaging teaching tools.”

To view the report, please click here.

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