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What is a makerspace?

Official definitions
A makerspace is a physical location that brings people together with the purpose of making, tinkering, fixing, and sharing.  Makerspaces facilitate collaboration on personally meaningful projects by providing the tools and technologies in a central hub.  [Definition provided by The Dream Factory, a part of DET’s Learning Technologies Branch]
A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. [Diana Rendina: Renovated Learning]
One student’s definition
It is a place you can learn, play, experiment and create projects with all the makerspace gear (like programming robots, coding with iPad or the computer, building Lego projects, using kinetic sand, littleBits, and Lego with the littleBits as well).
The Dream Factory team conducted a school trial in 2016 to assist schools wanting to implement a makerspace and evaluate the efficacy of makerspaces to develop staff and student skills relating to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Mansfield State School successfully applied to participate in the primary trial and the school now runs two makerspaces: one in the 4C classroom and one in the Prep area.
Mansfield’s makerspaces
Our makerspace was launched on 20 June 2016 by Ashleigh Smith and Stephanie Samios, two of the trial leaders from The Dream Factory. Our second makerspace, specifically for P – 2 students, opened in 2017. The teachers who run this makerspace won a grant to fund the purchase of a variety of resources for the younger makers. Our makerspaces foster creativity and inventiveness with a strong play-based focus. The students might build a Lego robot one day and create balloon sculptures or kinetic sand kingdoms the next. Some students visit daily, some weekly, some occasionally.
We have a variety of high-tech and low-tech resources in each of our makerspaces. From the trial, we received a 3D printer, Intel Galileo and Arduino physical computing boards, an Osmo kit, four sets of littleBits and GoldieBlox engineering kits. We’ve supplemented that with some Ozobots, Dot and Dash robots and more littleBits. We also have a range of other materials including Lego robots and construction kits, electronics kits, K’nex kits, a Meccano set, coding kits, playdough and kinetic sand – all donated by community members or provided by the school or P & C.
Where to from now?
With the trial concluded, the original makerspace continues to grow and change according to need, and our junior makerspace is flourishing. We have a working partnership with Mansfield State High School and a parent volunteer who supports us in our quest to learn and teach electronics. The makerspace philosophy informs and supports the Digital Technologies curriculum introduction and plays a central role in the development of staff and student STEM skills. In our trial application, we envisaged a five-year plan culminating in a dedicated makerspace and a ‘maker culture’ within our school. Using the Dream Factory’s motto, “Start small; think tall,” we continue to strive towards these goals.