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Quick Chat: Makerspaces

July 04,2016

Werklund school partners with Doucette library to build on popular learning concept

In this Quick Chat, Jennifer Lock & Paula Hollohan discuss the growing trend toward developing spaces where students and teachers alike learn—individually and collectively--to exercise a new levels of creativity.

Have you heard people talking about makerspaces?  Unsure of what they are?

Here’s a quick primer:  They’ve been around for about ten years and they grew out of the Do-it-Yourself movement.  They’re a place for people to gather, create and learn from each other. 

Depending on the reason a group of people is drawn together, they can focus on everything from computers and technology to metal and woodwork or carpentry or art and crafts and cooking. 

Essentially, if there are people interested in creating something new or expanding on what they already know, a makerspace is the place to go to share what you know and to learn from others—to build and learn together.

In the realm of education, it’s not uncommon to find a makerspace in a place like a library.  Tools used by those involved could include books, blocks, scraps of art materials and paint, computers and software, musical instruments….or something as simple as a bag of seemingly unconnected objects.

Here at the University of Calgary, if you were to walk into a maker session at the Doucette Library of Teaching Resources, you would most likely find all of those things--and more.

The Doucette, which is housed in the Education Classroom Block, works closely with researchers in the Werklund School of Education to develop makerspace activities for students who plan to go into teaching.

Jennifer Lock, Werklund associate dean of Teaching and Learning, and Paula Hollohan, information specialist in the Doucette, have worked to develop a series of workshops on makerspaces, and there are plans for an international conference on the subject in the fall.

In this Quick Chat, they discuss the growing trend toward developing spaces where students and teachers alike learn—individually and collectively--to exercise a new levels of creativity.