Education, Tinkering

Making Spaces, Schools, and the Amazeum - a community approach to Maker Spaces

February 7, 2017

OK, OK, the cat's *almost* out of the bag - Northwest Arkansas is increasingly becoming a maker haven.

We are so excited to be launching our part of the Making Spaces program here in Northwest Arkansas, in partnership with Google, Maker Ed, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, and 9 other regional hubs around the country.  The intent is to work with area schools to create funding platforms to help develop spaces in the formal school environment that develop and reinforce strong making & tinkering-based pedagogical practices in the classroom.  Once the funding is launched and successful, a whole series of partner-wide activities will follow that puts the foot on the accelerator around the participating schools and the Amazeum.

Please consider funding one (or all!) of the schools participating in this first cohort.  This first cohort represents schools from Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville, each of whom applied to be part of this initial launch and were selected based on the incredible work they are currently doing.  The six schools participating in the program have links to their GoFundMe pages below:

This work is more important than ever.  The kind of learning approaches put forward in strong maker spaces can help scaffold important science, technology, engineering, art, and math concepts that often are experienced in the abstract.  Approaches to design and problem-solving become embedded in authentic, real-world contexts, with the arc of learning controlled by the students.  Perhaps most importantly, maker spaces reinforce grit, persistence, and a growth mindset in kids.  This helps build a robust sense of self-efficacy and experience that with enough perseverance, so many obstacles can and will be overcome.  It is work that is being championed in our 3M Tinkering Hub, and in our community events like Tinkerfest, with incredible feedback from kids, their parents, and the educational community.

It's fair to say I'm giddy.  On February 6'th, all of the work these six schools have been doing, as well as a year of planning from the Amazeum team and our national partners, comes to fruition.  It isn't the start, but rather a big milestone, in the future of our schools and community as a home for makers, DIYers, and those who like to make the future with their own two hands.  I can't wait to see what comes next.  I wonder what I'll make to celebrate the occasion?