Students and teachers solving problems and making things that are sometimes useful, sometimes beautiful, and often both.

The makerspace is the home of Friends’ Central’s rapidly growing maker movement. As with the explosive growth of maker culture worldwide, the FCS community is embracing the values of openness, collaboration, human-centered design, and the deeply human desire to create things of personal and public value.

Drawing from the learning theory of constructionism, the makerspace seeks to empower student creators in the following ways:

Agency – “What are you making?”
Query: Do students feel valued for the talents they bear, empowered to take intellectual risks,  and capable of determining, without my intervention, when “good” is “good enough”?
For example… we support pluralism: of cognitive approaches, of modalities, of ways to demonstrate mastery. Projects that are rigidly linear and/or have one expected “correct” outcome dismiss the unique gifts each individual student brings to the makerspace.

Authenticity – “Why are you making it?”
Query: Does this project ring true with students’ aspirations, their lived experiences, or the reality of the communities in which they may some day participate?
For example… we like to support an ongoing number of opportunities for students to iterate and improve their work. Some projects continue long after the class deadline passes.

Audience – “Who is it for?”
Query: Do students have opportunities to share their work, to see that what they produce can be worthy of other people’s time and attention, or to examine the objects of their learning from another person’s perspective?
For example… we support sharing work online, offline, on campus, off campus, on a stage, or in the lobby. The magic of the makerspace does not come from the tools in the room; instead the learning theory that guides makerspaces is founded upon the unique power of learning through creating shareable work.

makerspace logo designed by Will Pearson ’16

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