As kids, all of us are bound to have spent at least a fraction of our time creating something. It could be a piece of craft, a science model, or just about anything that brought out the creativity and imagination from within us. Just reminiscing about such incidents when we made something with our hands and either gifted it to someone or put it to use for ourselves is sure to bring a smile on our faces and fill our hearts with joy!
Sadly, a lot of us do not take the time to continue making things either because our schedules didn’t permit it or because it wasn’t relevant to our school curriculums anymore. This unfortunate scenario prevails among most of the younger generation as well. But the potential benefits that come with ‘making’ are many! Some of the common benefits that can be reaped through maker education and maker learning include:
Inculcating essential 21st-century skills
Developing a team mindset and collaboration
Establishing connections across various disciplines of learning
Enhancing self-expression and building confidence
Deepening conceptual understanding
Inculcates essential 21st-century skills:
Every child is expected to learn humongous materials through their books. In parallel, educators strive hard to inculcate skills other than book knowledge in children. Imparting these skills to the children leads to better learning outcomes in the classrooms and gives children the confidence to do better in an ever-evolving world. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to impart skills such as creativity, collaboration, time management, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, etc. in a traditional classroom setup.
The process of ideation, design and the actual creation involved in ‘making’ something from scratch, paves the way for children to develop each one of these skills.
Develops a team mindset and collaboration:
By nature, children love to collaborate and build things together. They love the company of their friends, and they cherish the process of bringing something to life through collaborative work. But our education system offers very little opportunity for children to work as teams. Not only is teamwork enjoyed by children, but it stimulates children to develop a culture where they come together to formulate ideas, pay attention to differing ideas, and develop the maturity to accept the fact that their ideas could sometimes be turned down.
Learning to work together despite differences among the people in a group and sharing the credit for a job well done with all members of a group is a quality that can be developed by getting children to work as groups through the act of ‘making’.
Establishes connections across various disciplines of learning:
Learning happens at schools across various disciplines. Children study a multitude of subjects and learn so many different concepts across each one. However, these remain distinct since there’s not much opportunity for them to tie it all together and comprehend all their learnings in relation to one another.
Having a space dedicated to ‘making’ could bring it all under one roof. Be it learning STEM concepts, imbibing soft skills and 21st-century skills, or mastering the art of presentation and communication, ‘making’ could help students attain it all!
Enhances self-expression and builds confidence:
One way for students to understand emotions and manage them better is by expressing them creatively. Self-expression not only helps with handling feelings but also encourages more conversations among the students. Additionally, when students express themselves and people witness and appreciate their work, students develop the confidence to use their creative side as a means of self-expression.
By creating something from scratch, students are given the opportunity to express themselves in a safe space, with freedom. When they come up with a way to solve a problem or create a working model, children develop an important aspect, which is creative confidence.
Deepens conceptual understanding through hands-on learning:
Children learn tons of STEM concepts as part of their regular school curriculum. While educators do their best to help them understand these concepts, there’s only a certain amount that students can retain in their minds. But by trying out a concept, be it a simple concept such as wind or something as complex as electrical circuits, the chances of them retaining it forever increases manifold.
Makerspaces facilitate a way to do just that by enriching the hands-on experience of students. It encourages them to rethink concepts, enhance their STEM learning, and learn the ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ through the process of ‘making’.
On top of all this, maker education leads to a learning culture that is lots and lots of fun!
The turn of the 21st-century has marked a huge shift in the kind of skill sets expected in the future generation. Bookish knowledge has very clearly taken a backseat, and other soft skills have come to the forefront. Children need to be prepared in these skills both to join the future workforce and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to create jobs.
Makerspaces have the capability to ignite a passion for lifelong learning, expose students to various disciplines of science and impart a growth mindset that can mould them into well-rounded individuals who are better equipped to face the world!