As the prices drop and accessibility to 3D printing technology and robotics increases, there has been a quiet revolution in schools throughout the world. The growing demand and need for STEAM education is opening up the funding for more and more educational institutions, libraries, and community centers to establish makerspaces.
Unfortunately opening a makerspace isn’t something that just anyone can do, and isn’t something that can be done without a lot of enthusiasm, passion, and technological know-how. Most of the educators interested in creating makerspaces probably have the enthusiasm and passion parts down, but the technological know-how is where a lot of good intentions fall apart.
With that in mind, TechShop, the first and one of the largest chains of makerspaces in the US, is launching a new workshop to help passionate educators learn what it takes to open a successful makerspace. TechShop says that the Maker Space Academy is a comprehensive, step-by-step workshop that was developed to help educators and librarians design, equip, and run safe, inclusive, and successful makerspaces based on the successful TechShop model.
“A leader in the design and operation of world-class maker spaces worldwide, TechShop created The MakerSpace Academy’s curriculum using the know-how and standards we have developed over the past nine years with 7,000 members at eight locations across North America. Through this initiative, we hope to bolster education efforts to accelerate the maker movement and advance STEAM education in schools and libraries nationwide, and foster the future generations of innovators,” said TechShop COO Dan Woods.
Creating a functional makerspace is about more than putting a few machines in a room and telling the public to have fun. It requires complex space and resource planning, understanding the safety requirements for installing tools and machinery and allowing the public to use it, and the creation of accessible and exciting workshops and curriculum. The TechShop Maker Space Academy will help educators learn how to build and equip a space that will be safe and self-sustaining.
TechShop is starting with starting off by offering sessions in Washington, DC/Arlington, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each participant in the three-and-a-half day course will learn how to select, install, provide instruction, troubleshoot, and maintain of a wide range of equipment like 3D printers, laser cutters, desktop mills, and CAD software. They will also instruct educators how to determine the correct size of their makerspace, what equipment to source, and how to make sure the budget is adequate to their space’s needs.
TechShop will also help educators develop plans for open equipment accessibility while maintaining accountability, safety rules, and usage policies that work. They will also be trained to create an exciting atmosphere, makerspace events, and community outreach programs, as well as to develop STEAM projects and workshops that are both fun and educational.
At the end of the academy, participants will receive a TechShop MakerSpace Certification showing that they have successfully completed the most comprehensive and relevant training in makerspace development and operation available. They will also receive hands-on training by TechShop employees who are already running successful makerspaces.
You can find out more about and sign up for TechShops new MakerSpace Academy here.