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?

The I Made That! makerspaces would be age- and experience-appropriate for all lifelong learners.

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.

The design for I Made That! features age-appropriate makerspaces and areas for prototype demonstrations.

The design for I Made That! features age-appropriate makerspaces and areas for prototype demonstrations.

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.

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