New Macquarie University research shows makerspaces can be highly effective at developing primary school children’s creativity, critical thinking, Design Thinking and digital skills.
Makerspaces have been widely advocated as a way to develop STEM abilities and soft skills. However, until recently, there has been little research that investigates the learning and teaching outcomes possible with makerspaces, particularly for younger students.
Now a new Australian university research study on makerspaces in primary school settings reveals the compelling evidence of benefits of this type of learning for primary educators.
From August 2017 to July 2018, Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies partnered with the NSW Department of Education, Carlingford West Public School, Parramatta East Public School, Oatlands Public School and Makers Empire for a research study on maker pedagogy and makerspaces in primary schools.
The research study examined how maker activities using 3D design and 3D printing technology could enhance learning and teaching outcomes: teachers from three schools undertook Makers Empire’s Learning by Design professional development course and participating students used Makers Empire’s 3D modelling software.
The recently published research study report revealed that makerspaces can be highly effective at developing children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills.
Students were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges - it helped boost their confidence and resilience when dealing with setbacks, particularly for those less capable students.
In a different way, the research study showed that teachers became more comfortable with technology, and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching. All of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.
“It’s wonderful to have our work validated by this kind of rigorous academic research. Makers Empire works with thousands of educators teaching hundreds of thousands of students and it's vital for schools to know that our products are genuinely effective and engaging teaching tools,” Jon Soong, CEO of Makers Empire said.