Makerspaces A to Z: Impactful

Laura Fleming

Thanks for checking out my #MakerspacesAtoZ blog series.  In case you missed it, you can catch my previous posts here:

A:  Aspirational
B:  Boring
C:  Combinatory
D:  Disobedient
E:  Enterprising
F:  Fundamental
G:  G.O.A.T.
H:  Human Algorithm Design

Nearly eight years ago, I embarked on my makerspace journey.  Although I established our first makerspace around then, it has taken me all these years to continue to develop my body of work, to help to ensure that our makerspace and others, continued to evolve and flourish.  In 2018 , I published my second makerspace book, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces, driven by the philosophy of not just creating makerspaces, but creating GREAT makerspaces, ones that are are unique, meaningful, relevant to their school communities, as well as sustainable into the future.  In that book, I outlined what I determined to be the 7 attributes of a GREAT makerspace: Inspiring, Intentional, Personalized, Deep, Differentiated, Empowering and Equitable.  When we integrate these attributes, we create exponentially powerful learning environments.  I still stand by those attributes, however, for this post in my #MakerspacesAtoZ blog series, I have chosen an honorary 8th attribute of a GREAT makerspace, Impactful.  As I continue to find ways to level up my own makerspace work, I have realized just how important impactful, in terms of our makerspaces, is.

Makerspaces that are impactful are not a new idea, in fact, I have written before about this Maker Care program, created by Islip, NY Library Media Specialist, Gina Seymour.  Over the past year, I also have discovered the work of Steve Sostak and Aaron Moniz, of Inspire Citizens who through their Empathy to Impact approach, help infuse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, global competence frameworks, and media literacy into project-based inquiry, design thinking, curricular standards, language objectives, and 21st-century learning. With their work in mind, I launched a makerspace initiative in Nigeria, Making the SDGs, in partnership with my friend and colleague, Jacob Sule, which aims to empower and support students/youths in rural Nigeria to help to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, through a network of makerspaces.

In addition to creating makerspaces that are impactful, we can help others be impactful, as well.  For example, here at Worlds of Making, with the help of donations through a fundraising campaign, we were able to MAKE a difference by raising funds for libraries in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.   We also contributed to maker educators’ DonorsChoose.org campaigns.

Need help making an impact through makerspaces? Check out this #EveryClassroomCounts campaign from Advancement Courses, in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, which aims to help students and teachers in need. Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 27, Advancement Courses will donate 10% of all sales to DonorsChoose.org projects. All educators, not just maker educators, are encouraged to submit their DonorsChoose projects for funding consideration from Advancement Courses. Last year they donated nearly $50,000! This campaign runs from Aug. 14-Sept. 27, so don’t miss out!

What can you do to ensure that your makerspace is impactful?  Share your thoughts at #MakerspacesAtoZ.

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