Pedagogy of the Makerspace

  1. Quinn, Bonnie
  2. ID
  3. Fleming, L. (2018, May 1,). Pedagogy, Not Passing Trend. School Library Journal, 64, 33.
  • This article discusses the importance of makerspaces being an educational philosophy, not a fad and stresses that they are for open ended exploration for everyone.  To keep makerspaces relevant, they need to be sustainable and require reflection.  The differences between STEM labs and makerspaces are noted. The connection between makerspaces and literature is featured.

Laura Fleming does a great job explaining what makerspaces really can be and convincingly asserts that they are more than a passing trend.  She adequately explains how to keep makerspaces relevant by encouraging readers to constantly refine and grow their programming.  I agree with her assertion that a true makerspace is more than students making 30 of the same project, and that it is possible and even advantageous to bring literature into the makerspace.  Laura Fleming is a great advocate for the makerspace.

How to Makerspace.

Ward-Sell, Krista

Topic: Makerspace model

Fontichiaro, K. (Dec 1, 2016) Inventing products with design thinking, balancing structure with open-ended thinking. Teacher librarian. Retrieved from :


A good article summarizing the experience of a librarian who needed to institute a framework for makerspace design procedure. She uses the following framework in an iterative fashion. 

Identify a problem,

Research, Observe, Interview, 

Synthesize and focus



Test, Adjust, Test again


Each of the steps include a detailed description of the behaviors the author is encouraging in her students. During the Research, Identify, and interview section, for example, she describes an information inquiry that includes not only traditional research, but observation of the problem in context with users, and interviews with people who actually encounter the problem. 


Not for a scholarly audience, but a casual reader who is unfamiliar with the makerspaces will get a thorough grounding in the topic and a workable model for how to run a makerspace. Fontichiaro writes about her experiences in an engaging way, sharing about how her students were trying to build a bridge and not making any progress. “Building a bridge to nowhere.” My experience with kids working in a makerspace has taught me that the ideal of a self directed space where kids direct their own learning is unworkable without some structure. They do need a framework to explore within to help them focus their ideas. This model serves very well in that capacity.

MIT Developing assessments to quantify makerspace educational value

Lepine, Sierra.


Yorio, K. (2018). “MIT Developing Assessments To Quantify Makerspace Educational Value.” School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Describes an education initiative between MIT, MakerEd, and various school districts on East and West Coasts to develop and research the efficacy of assessments for Makerspaces and Makerspace projects/learning in K-12 schools. The idea is that makerspaces will be a better educational tool when student learning outcomes are assessed (and that there will be more buy in from teachers, parents, and other educational stakeholders), but that current traditional forms of assessment do a poor job of providing an accurate picture of non-traditional makerspaces impact on student learning. See also the iniative’s website,, for other similar projects and publications on non-traditional educational theory and practices.

I thought this was a really interesting concept, given the fact that makerspaces are an increasingly embraced educational trend, and that traditionally educational administrators and executives seem to value data – particularly quantitative date – as a means of evaluating programs above all else. I would be really interested in seeing what assessments MIT comes up with, what they look like, what they seek to quantify, and how hard or not they are to implement.

The Brain Science of Making

Lepine, Sierra.


McQuinn, Conn. (2018). “The Brain Science of Making.” School Library Journal. Retrieved from

A 5 point argument on the benefits of making for learning, all through the lens of neuroscience.

I loved this article as a scientifically-based argument for making as an intrinsically powerful tool to enhance learning. Hard to argue with a list of reasons based in neurophysiology all indicating how making leads to better learning. I particularly enjoyed the homunculi pictures showing a visual representation of how important various parts of our body are to our brain, neurologically speaking – as a small spoiler, our hands are by far and away the possessors of most motor and sensory neurons, and therefore really quite significant to our brains!

Teen Experts Guide Makerspace Makeover

McNeil, Lauren


Graves, C. (2014). Teen experts guide makerspace makeover. Knowledge Quest, 42(4), 8-13. Retrieved from

This article describes makerspaces, particularly their benefits. Unlike library programs that are offered at particular times and are thus limited in terms of availability, makerspaces are more accessible, as they are always available (Graves, 2014). Outside the bounds of the school library and its hours of operation, virtual makerspaces can always be accessed by students who possess the necessary technology themselves. Graves (2014) also states that a makerspace is a “nurturing, positive environment” (p. 12).  School library makerspaces therefore increase students’ access to technology, provide them with ongoing learning opportunities, and can lower their stress levels, as makerspaces are low-pressure areas where activities are meant to be enjoyable and are not tied to grades.

Not only does the article make a strong case in advocating for the inclusion of makerspaces in libraries, but, significantly (and perhaps unusually), the author also highlights the importance of obtaining student input as to the resources that should be made available in the makerspaces (Graves, 2014). This way, the makerspaces will accurately reflect students’ information needs and wants and better enable them to meet their personal and academic goals.

Makerspaces and Education

Mahajan, Deepti


Rubinstein05/15/2018, K. (n.d.). Making Space for Makerspaces. Retrieved from

This article is written by a teacher in New jersey and talks about how she set up a makerspace and what she learnt about it. She discusses how the maker spaces promote the inquiry and design thinking in the students and is a very inquiry based model of teaching and learning. The article also mentions her observations in the class and her findings from the study. She talks a lot about how this maker movement is encouraging the students to work and learn collaboratively. It also teaches them problem solving and creativity. The makerspaces provide an opportunity to be innovative and creative and working collaboratively.

This was a very informative article as it discusses how the teacher learned new things while developing this maker space for her students. It also gives the readers information about how the maker movement can be helpful in education. The observation checklist gives the educators a good tool to evaluate their learning commons or maker spaces.


Makerspaces Blast Off!

Young, Christina

This article focuses on a school in Melbourne, Florida that set up a makerspace with the help of a $10,000 grant from a local telecommunications company. The makerspace is in the corner of the library and consists of countertops, stools, and a whiteboard, a Makey Makey kit, a 3D printer, a Raspberry Pi, Littlebits electronic circuit modules, and a few other simple tools.

There is also a train table where students create Rube Goldberg type machines. Students were initially reluctant to use the makerspace, but after being introduced to youtube videos and peer teaching the makerspace became used. It has been transformative in a social sense as a student who was viewed as “quirky” became a peer makerspace leader.

It was interesting to me that students were initially reluctant to use the space. It was also that makerspaces allow students who may not always feel valued in school to become peer leaders.

Toy Take-Apart for Library Makerspaces

Bradley, Rebecca


Fontichiaro, K.. (2017) Toy take-apart: mass destruction for a purpose. Retrieved from:

This short but sweet article gives very clear and helpful instructions on how to start a “wreck lab” in a school library. Topics include an general introduction, how to find toys with little or no money, getting the best equipment for these kinds of projects to ensure safety and success, how to organize kids during the toy take-parts activities, follow-up activities, and many practical tips. 
If you are a school librarian with limited space, time, and funds, I recommend this article as a starting point in forming your new “makerspace.” It is a perfect way to get your feet wet, learn about makerspaces, and have fun with students at your school. In fact, of all of the books and articles I have read about creating makerspaces in libraries, this article seems the most doable. Enjoy!