More than half of today’s students will hold jobs that don’t yet exist today, which is why it is critically important for students to develop 21st-century skills such as creativity and problem solving.
STEAM learning can help schools ensure students are combining creativity with critical thinking and other key skills, and librarians are uniquely positioned to take an active role in designing STEAM programs and maker spaces.
Makerspaces, as outlined in a whitepaper from littleBits, can help expose students to STEAM as they develop essential skills for success after high school and college.
Maker education “often involves an interdisciplinary approach to instruction and learning: maker educators integrate visual arts, music, language arts, humanities, and social sciences into STEAM projects, giving students a chance to have a holistic experience with technology,” according to the paper.
What do maker spaces look like? Of schools that offer maker activities, most libraries (67 percent) have a dedicated space for maker-related activities—59 percent of those are in the school library. Roughly 32 percent of maker activities are tied directly to the curriculum. Schools looking to fit maker and STEAM education are typically offered during whole-class instruction (63 percent), and 48 percent of schools also offer these activities during students’ free periods.