Top Ways to get started with Maker Education

Are you looking to get started with maker education but aren’t sure where to start or how to get buy in from the community? Check out this post on why makerspaces are important, then check out these tips on getting started that we’ve heard from the community.

students working on maker education project

Funding a Makerspace and Materials

  • Find free space - look around your school to find any unused classrooms, labs or closets that can be converted into a makerspace
  • Open the space up to the community after hours - during non-school hours, many school makerspaces sit empty. By opening up the space to the community (for a fee) it’s possible to recoup some of the costs and generate excitement.
  • Look to the trash for materials - recyclables make great craft materials, many organizations such as RAFT even work with local companies to intercept materials before they hit the dumpster.
  • Ask for material donations - you might be surprised what some parents have laying around the house
  • Stretch the budget you do have - choose reuseables, look for inexpensive hardware that can be used by multiple students at once (don’t immediately go for the flashy 3D printer or CNC machine)
  • Check for grants that may be available in your area  - here’s one source that may be helpful

Getting Buy in From the School

  • Start a student club to gauge interest - check out this post on what a makerspace club can do for your school
  • Ask students what they want - getting buy in from students makes them more excited about using the space
  • Encourage educators to try the space - makerspaces can be intimidating for instructors who aren’t used to them, remove that barrier by encouraging them to try it out without students first
  • Provide professional learning for educators wishing to use the space - the main hesitation we hear to incorporating maker education into instruction is a lack of preparedness from educators, providing learning opportunities makes them more comfortable with using the space

Extra Advice

  • Don’t wait until you know everything - the educators who are most successful with maker education are the ones who jump right in
  • Use electronics kits - for those getting started, kits or makerspaces-in-a-box are less overwhelming than trying to pick all the parts individually. As a bonus, kits usually comes with a guidebook to teach students about different circuits, removing some of the pressure from the educator.

Have you started a makerspace? What tips helped you get started?