The Making + Learning project has developed a suite of tools intended to facilitate discussions amongst team members about the key considerations when creating makerspaces to support learning in museums or libraries.

When used with organizational teams, these tools can help surface differing perspectives on making, develop a common vision and language around making and help your team towards developing a plan of work that reflects the many factors that influence a highly productive makerspace or maker program.  These tools are meant to be revisited on a regular basis and serve as cycles of learning for you and / or your makerspace team. The real learning begins with yourself or your organization.

Below you will find links to download each tool, video-based introductions to each tool, as well as a portal to a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course)* that you may use at any time to help further facilitate your use of these tools with your colleagues. For detailed descriptions of how to use the tools, please visit the Supporting Making in Museum and Library Makerspaces MOOC Course Site.

Introduction to the Tools

Vision Statement Tool

Creating a clear vision for your makerspace or maker program is the first step in supporting learning. The Vision Statement Tool aims to surface the goal(s) of your makerspace or maker activities as a learning environment or program. As a tool, it helps to scaffold the work of building a coherent message. It is important to note that a Vision Statement is a living document that will evolve over time.

The goal of the activity is to create a succinct vision statement for your makerspace. The vision statement tool enables participants to form something akin to an “elevator pitch.” Therefore, try to identify an audience (the person stuck in the elevator with you). Is it a parent? Community member? Board member? Manager? While it is assumed that by the end of this activity, or the week, your organization’s maker-based vision statement may not be in a final form, the activity is intended to help you take the first important steps to forming a single statement that reflects many of the core priorities for your makerspace or maker programs.

Program Variations Tool

There are so many aspects of a makerspace that influence its success as a place or program of learning. 

The purpose of this activity is to develop common language across team members related to important aspects of your makerspace practice. This tool can also be a starting point for action. This tool is designed to encourage cross-organizational discussion and consideration of many of the core aspects of makerspace or maker program activity and practice, and how those aspects fit together and impact one another.
This tool displays many of the core factors that are often considered when designing and maintaining a makerspace, such as facilitation, types of tools and materials, structure of activities, etc. as spectra, and encourages participants to consider these various facets of their maker program or space across these various spectra.

People Tool

People play an important role in creating the conditions for rich learning experiences. This might include designing the learning activities, selecting and maintaining appropriate tools and materials, and facilitating the learning experiences for learners so they are appropriately challenging and engaging. And behind the scenes, there are certainly people hiring and scheduling staff, raising money for the makerspace and communicating the role of maker-based learning experiences for visitors and patrons alike. For some museums and libraries, these roles are carried out by only a handful of people with key staff wearing multiple hats. In other cases, there is an extensive network of staff and stakeholders involved in bringing the maker-based learning experiences to life.

The purpose of this tool is to help teams reflect on the capacities and talents of current staff as well as consider gaps or opportunities for future strengths. Ultimately, this is a game to facilitate conversations among colleagues working in a makerspace and consider how their roles can better support learning and engagement.

Learning Tool

Those of us who design and facilitate maker-based learning experiences often have a difficult time talking about the learning in those experiences. We might see learners building cool things or working with neat tools, but we often do not have the language or perspective to describe or measure the learning taking place. The goal of this activity is to enable participants to create an evidence-centered framework for learning related to at least one maker-based activity.

The Learning Tool focuses on the evidence of learning  an organization hopes to design to support and see when a learner engages in a maker activity. This is based on Evidence-Centered Design, which is an approach to designing assessments that puts the evidence of learning as the central facet of the learning (and assessment) design.

Supporting Learning in Library & Museum Makerspaces: A Massively Open Online Course 

Premiers June 1, 2017

Presented by Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Peer 2 Peer University*.

* The MOOC is hosted by P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University), a non-profit organization that facilitates learning outside of institutional walls. Designing and leveraging open education tools and resources, P2PU strives to cultivate a high-quality, low-cost model for lifelong learning.