The Makerspace: Paving the Way for DIY Innovation and Creation

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No skateboard stand. That was an immediate problem for University of Southern California students when they arrived at the new Iovine and Young Academy. Fortunately, their college came with a makerspace, a DIY educational center where people meet to collaborate, share ideas, and create innovative programs and products, often with an emphasis on technology.

Offered in a growing number of universities, libraries, and community centers, makerspaces provide high-tech equipment and resources in a comfortable setting. Portable tables, bean bag chairs, and shared computers often set the scene. Typical tools are 3D printers and scanners, lasers, sheet metal tools, sewing machines, vinyl cutters, whiteboards, microcomputers, and other gadgets that foster creativity.

As personalized and interactive learning grows in popularity, more and more organizations are modeling programs after the makerspace. USC’s Iovine and Young Academy, for example, sets an entire academy inside a makerspace, and allows students to take a majority of their courses inside the space. While this isn’t the case at most schools, more and more institutions are using makerspaces as a way to encourage students, faculty and even members of local communities to collaborate.

At USC’s makerspace, students created a cardboard prototype of the skateboard stand, then built one together in the academy’s woodshop. Read more about makerspaces at Ed Tech Magazine: “Making Makerspaces Work on Campus,” by Melissa Delaney.

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