This reading list is an introduction to research about makerspaces in higher education. These articles were helpful when we were developing the Maker Hub at Elon. While not a comprehensive list, it's an introduction to the topic.
If you're interested in performing your research into making, maker ed, or a related study, the Maker Hub can help. Contact Dan Reis, instructional technologist, and coordinator of the Maker Hub.
Makerspaces and Maker Education
The Maker Movement in Education
This highly-cited article is an excellent introduction to the maker movement, Papert's constructionism theory of learning, and making in formal and informal education settings. It also connects maker ed to current education practices.
The Promise of the Maker Movement for Education
If you're interested in learning more about the maker mindset and tools inside a typical makerspace, read this article. The author discusses three elements of the maker movement: tools - digital and physical tools to build digital and physical projects; people - a community of users and a workspace; mindset – characteristics or habits of makers. The article summarizes the maker mindset as: playful, asset-and-growth oriented, failure-positive, and collaborative. Maker mindsets continue to be a key focus at the Maker Hub.
The Maker Movement and the Rebirth of Constructionism
In this essay, the author argues that constructionism, a learning theory based on constructivism, is a pedagogical framework for makerspaces in education. He discusses his path to constructionism through project-based learning.
Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning
This article on project-based learning predates the contemporary maker movement in higher education. Many of the benefits and characteristics of project-based learning also apply to maker projects. The authors state there are two components of projects: a question or problem to drive the activities and the creation of artifacts that address the question/problem. Considerations for project-based learning assignments: do students find the project interesting and valuable? Do students have the competence to work on the project, or can they learn the skills required? Is the process of the project appropriately valued, or is the focus only on the final deliverable? Depending on the type of maker assignment or activity you're developing, a familiarity with project-based learning definitions and practices can be helpful. Project-based learning has a lot of research behind it. If you're interested to learn more, this article is cited in many more recent articles about it.
Phyllis C Blumenfeld, Elliot Soloway, Ronald W Marx, Joseph S Krajcik, Mark Guzdial, A. P. (1991). Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning. Educational Psychologist, 26(3/4).
Maker Assignments and Activities
Putting the "H" in STEAM: Paradigms for Modern Liberal Arts Education
This book chapter discusses how liberal arts institutions can leverage the STEAM movement in K-12 education to promote active learning, metacognition, and practicing 21st-century skills. The authors provide examples from liberal arts colleges about how inquiry, interactivity, and innovation of STEAM can be translated to humanities. It also talks about makerspaces as a place for interdisciplinary discovery, where students build knowledge on their terms.
Lewis, A. L. (2015). Putting the "H" in STEAM: Paradigms for Modern Liberal Arts Education. In Emerging Technologies for STEAM Education (pp. 259–275). Springer International Publishing. Putting the "H" in STEAM is available from Belk Library.
Stanford FabLearn's Paulo Blikstein On the Efficacy of Maker Ed: It's About Process, Not Products
This web article provides a couple of recommendations for maker ed assignments. Grade the process and not just the final product by assigning journals, prototypes, and other ways to help students see the process's value. Include moments of reflection to help students identify their progress. And, when pairing students for a maker assignment, pair up a lower-skill with a higher-skill student. And let the lower-skill student be in control of the tool with the help of the higher-skill student.
Makification: Towards a framework for leveraging the maker movement in formal education
This article presents a framework for creating a maker assignment or makification of an assignment. The authors share four principles of makification: creation – this can include making from scratch or remixing or remaking existing artifacts, iteration – by requiring multiple versions of a project lowers the stakes on each version and creates a space safe for failure, sharing –students share their iterations and receive/give peer feedback, autonomy – students choose the making activity within the learning objectives of the course. The authors discourage adding art or craft projects at the end of the project. Rather, integrate the maker activity in a larger project or the course content. Note: this article can be requested by Interlibrary Loan.
Cohen, J. J., Jones, W. M. W., Smith, S., & Calandra, B. (2016). Makification: Towards a Framework for Leveraging the Maker Movement in Formal Education. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 26(3), 129–135.
Independence in the Making: Using Makerspace Experiences to Build Foundational Entrepreneurial Competencies
This article, written by Elon Entrepreneurship faculty and the Maker Hub, recaps the makerspace challenge assignment used in first-year entrepreneurship classes. The article outlines the reasons behind the activity, the logistics of the assignment, and how it helps students gain confidence as a maker while creating personally significant artifacts.
Kennedy, E. D., McMahon, S. R., & Reis, D. (2020). Independence in the Making: Using Makerspace Experiences to Build Foundational Entrepreneurial Competencies. Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy.
Equity and access
Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power: Toward Transformative Visions for Educational Equity
People of color and other traditionally marginalized groups can feel excluded in contemporary maker culture. This essay suggests principles to consider when designing making activities or research, which include: "critical analyses of educational injustice, historicized approaches to making as a cross-cultural activity, explicit attention to pedagogical philosophies and practices, and ongoing inquiry into the sociopolitical values and purposes of making."
Remaking the Library Makerspace: Critical Theories, Reflections, and Practices.
This book of essays highlights contemporary definitions of makers and what makerspaces are doing to engage with women and traditionally underserved populations.
Melo, Maggie, and Nichols, Jennifer T. Remaking the Library Makerspace: Critical Theories, Reflections, and Practices. Library Juice Press, 2020. Note: this book can be requested by Interlibrary Loan.
Additional research areas
There are many subsections of maker education research, including training pre-service teachers, making in engineering and other STEM fields, and makerspaces in libraries.