- Ed tech company Workbench has partnered with Maryland’s public library systems to create an online makerspace that will allow users to share activities and lessons, discuss projects and otherwise collaborate.
- In announcing the partnership, Workbench and the Maryland libraries said they expect the online space to build on Maryland public libraries’ existing collections of maker technology and tools and serve as a hub for educators who want to bring innovative technology curricula into their own classrooms.
- Workbench allows users to form online communities it calls workbenches and through the Maryland virtual makerspace, the company will create new opportunities for sharing hands-on, project-based learning statewide.
Makerspaces have exploded in popularity in schools across the country. Some districts have invested heavily in maker technology, including 3D printers, drones, robots and other tools, while others have given students a chance to tinker with donated supplies that still give students a chance to explore and create on their own. In EdSurge, Laura Busch, a technology integrator at Blair Elementary School in Waukesha, WI, urges educators to measure the impact of makerspaces based on student mastery of design thinking, service learning and 21st century skills.
Of critical importance is following up opportunities for making with deeper learning experiences at the higher grade levels. Students who are exposed to makerspaces can develop a passion for science, technology, engineering and math fields, but they will not be prepared for college-level work if they don’t get access to rigorous coursework in high school first.