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A makerspace is exactly what it sounds like. A space designed to encourage making, building, designing, and collaboration among students. The movement began with the onset of 3D printing but has grown to encompass all kinds of functions. They can be used for STEM classes like robotics or physics, or they can be designed for art classes like sewing or woodworking. Makerspaces can also be found in community centers, libraries, or any special elective classroom.
Their purpose is to encourage creativity, while also creating a systematic way for teachers to assess a student’s creativity. Makerspaces teach students real-world skills like the importance of learning from failure, problem-solving and completing a project. They are redefining what the classroom environment looks like, as they emphasize hands-on learning, collaboration, and technological innovation.
So now that we’ve convinced you on the importance of them, the next question is how? How do you cultivate a makerspace environment? Any space can be transformed into a makerspace with the right furniture and design. It should be versatile, mobile, and durable while also aesthetically pleasing and creativity encouraging.
Imagine working at the Smith System Interchangeable Squiggle Table while sketching the blueprint for a remote control car. The curves of the table might inspire you to think beyond straight lines. The ample space might allow you to draw six different drafts. The 20 color options might remind you of the outdoors. These unique tables are perfect for a creative makerspace, instead of traditional rectangular tables. Their curved shape also means they can be pushed together and arranged in a variety of different configurations to provide even more collaborative space.
On the other hand of a colorful and creative aesthetic is an urban and industrial inspired makerspace. Versteel achieves this design with its butcher block topped tables and steel constructed stools. Whether it’s a utility table and stools to sit in the center of a makerspace, or a mobile whiteboard to travel around the room for collaboration, Versteel’s Maker Project offers a series that exemplifies the maker movement.
If there’s one theme apparent in the maker movement it’s mobility and versatility. And seating options should not be overlooked when crafting the perfect makerspace. Chairs with wheels are crucial, like the Smith System Plato Mobile Stack Chair, which can also be easily stacked and put to the side when more space is needed. Another flexible seating option is the Smith System Oodle Stool which offers five different colors and can be stacked on top of each other to accommodate different heights.
Other choices include Versteel or Hon Stools and Perch Seats to facilitate a sit-to-stand work environment. Sometimes the best way to get the creative juices flowing is to also get the blood flowing. Sit-to-stand desks and chairs allow for easy reconfiguration between sitting and standing while creating a flexible work environment.
Makerspaces, with their energetic and dynamic environment, require some sort of dividers to split the room into zones. Whether the zones are divided by quiet versus noisy, clean versus messy, or individual versus collaborative, strategically placed storage can create this organized chaos. The Smith System Cascade Storage Bins provide customizable, mobile storage options. This line offers options with whiteboards, pegboards, or notepads attached to the side in order to maximize the uses for these storage systems. Whether you’re trying to store reams of paper or soccer balls, the Cascade System has a customizable option to fit anything.
Depending on the functionality of a makerspace, instructor equipment could be a vital peace. In a classroom setting, a teacher will find themselves constantly on the go. This means rather than a desk, instructors will need mobile carts. The Smith System Cascade AV Mega-Case is the perfect all-in-one to replace a traditional desk. With five interior outlets and four exterior outlets, it can hold anything from a laptop to a 3D printer to a projector. It also has storage shelves, locking doors, and a durable worktop.
Gone is the quintessential classroom made up of a teacher standing by the blackboard with rows full of dreary eyed students sitting in uncomfortable metal chairs. In its place is the 21st Century classroom equipped with tablets, smart boards, and furniture to facilitate a collaborative and engaging work environment.
Imagine a world where kids want to come to school. A world where desks are complete with tablet charging stations. A world where chairs are actually comfortable to sit in.
That galaxy isn’t so far away.
Modern classrooms emphasize the importance of hands-on learning, collaboration among peers, and the use of technology. And all of these needs can be met with an effectively designed learning environment.
One important facet of these changing needs is flexibility. The Teknion Learning Tables are perfectly designed for easy reconfiguration. Their linking option means it can stand alone, or it can be linked with others to facilitate group learning. The wheels also make it easier to move around the room. It even comes with a charging stand and cup holder – I told you that galaxy wasn’t so far away.
Another way to meet the need for a hands-on, flexible classroom is the Teknion Mobile Markerboard. This whiteboard on wheels not only allows for more small group collaboration among students but also serves as a room divider when needed.
The latest and greatest for flexible classroom seating is the Oodle Stool by Smith Systems. These cylinder shaped seats provide students with control over their learning environment. By flipping the base of the seat over, the Oodle can be flipped from a flat, sturdy seat to a rocking base that provides students with more movement when they start getting fidgety. Students also aren’t stuck with one height or one color; they’re stackable and available in five different colors.
Designing a classroom that fosters student engagement requires furniture that focuses on flexibility, collaboration, and technological innovation. All of these combine to create an environment students want to be a part of.