The Hiccups and Hurdles of Makerspace Planning (and How to Avoid Them)

With all the great things about makerspaces, it can be easy to overlook some of the small hiccups and larger hurdles that might come up when making if educators and youth don’t make time for designing and planning.  At the reMAKE education conference (#remakeedu) this past week, Stephanie Chang and I engaged educators in some planning exercises that can help bypass those hiccups and hurdles and streamline the design process. (Thanks to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and their framework for helping us focus our efforts).

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1. What is your maker ed? At Maker Ed, we believe that making, at its simplest, is the act of creating. Take some time to brainstorm (10-15 minutes) how making is currently defined or will be defined in the space. Use “making is the act of creating” as a jumping off point. Continue brainstorming by considering the purpose, goals, and values of making in your space: What would be the goals of incorporating making into the space? What are the values that underlie making in the space? What is the overall purpose for making?

2. Who makes up your maker ed? Continue by mapping out the people involved in the space: What kinds of relationships will be fostered in the space? What kinds of approaches will you use to facilitate these relationships? How will you shine a light on the expertise and interests makers bring with them to the space?  Who supports your space, and what roles do they play? Who should support your space, but doesn’t? Remember, issues of equity, diversity, and identity should be built into the fabric of your makerspace, and intentional planning and designing are required to make this a lived reality.

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3. What are the tools and materials that make up your makerspace? Instead of starting with a list of the newest and latest tools, dive into budget planning so you can balance your investment in people, procedures, tools and materials. So often we want to start with the tools and then jump into the design of the space itself, and as a result, we only budget for these things. Budgeting for people is just as important, if not more so. This worksheet can help walk you through the makerspace budgeting process.

Now it’s time for you to keep the planning and development going! Take a look at our Makerspace Planning Sheet from the Youth Makerspace Playbook, and be sure to share all of your makerspace ideas, inspirations and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook or Google +.

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