Reimaging Learning Spaces: Makerspaces & Private-Public Partnerships
This blog is part of a series on reimagining learning spaces. Check our other blog “Can Restaurants Stimulate Our Curiosity and Our Taste Buds? “
Private-public partnerships are absolutely critical to achieving the vision of 9 Billion Schools. A powerful concept for such a collaboration is the I Made That! chain of makerspaces, each one a collaboration between a big-box DIY store and a local school district, university or public library. It’s a win-win situation because makers benefit from having access to the expertise that many big-box employees have, while the retailers benefit by selling the tools and materials that makers need to execute their projects.
Envisioned in the center of the I Made That! concept is a commons area with a kitchen and dining space, since some makers will certainly spend entire days working on their projects and will need to refuel. Plus, such an area creates a good space for people to mingle and share ideas.
Surrounding this area would be age- and experience-appropriate makerspaces equipped with 3D printers, metal- and woodworking equipment and more. In addition, I Made That! would feature special areas for people to demo what they’ve built for their friends and fellow makers. These demo rooms could also serve as ideal spaces for collaborating, brainstorming and presentation-giving.
One of the most exciting possibilities of this prospective public-private partnership is that makers who create products of interest to the DIY community could work with the big-box retailers to get them manufactured and sold in their stores. Imagine that: An idea born and refined in the I Made That! space could generate income for the maker to pursue other inventions.
At I Made That! locations, the popular mantra “Think outside the box” could very well morph into “Think inside the box.”
This content was originally published in our book “9 Billion Schools: Why the World Needs Lifelong, Personalized Learning for All.”