Training staff and volunteers
Working with a team can be a big help as you create your makerspace environment. Let’s take a look at how you can train volunteers and staff to support your makerspace.
We recommend visiting an established makerspace or fablab in your area to get hands-on experience with equipment and see their team structure before opening your makerspace. Most community makerspaces have open days and training sessions on all their equipment. Getting to know experts in these spaces is always a good idea too, as they could help you with activities, as well as upskilling other members of your faculty in future.
Picademy is the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free face-to-face professional development programme that supports educators throughout their digital making and computing journey. This two-day training event is held at venues around the UK and North America. After completing the programme, educators join a community of passionate digital making practitioners.
World-renowned authors of Invent to Learn Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez run an annual in-person multi-day workshop in the US, called Constructing Modern Knowledge. In addition, Gary and Sylvia will come to you and run an event where you are. You can find their calendar of events and contact details on their website.
There are good online training resources for learning about specific equipment such as 3D printed: How To Use A 3D Printer by ALISON is a respected free course. Lynda offers a more detailed course called Up and Running with 3D Printing. Lynda charges a monthly subscription, but you get 10 days free, plenty of time to view just the one course.
The Maker Education Initiative created a set of video modules to aid educators to set up informal clubs for young people in their communities. They include details on the Young Makers programme and how to get involved in the initiative.
At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we recently launched a new way for people to learn about computing: free online training courses, available to anyone, anywhere in the world. You are taking one right now! They include skills training, for example regarding physical computing with Python and Raspberry Pi or object-oriented programming, while also helping you develop good pedagogical practice.
Conferences and meetups
There are Maker Faires all over the world. Celebrations of the maker movement, they’re family-friendly showcases of inventiveness, creativity, and resourcefulness allowing members of the maker movement to exhibit their builds, share their skills through workshops, and talk about their experiences.
The Mozilla Foundation run an annual festival in London, UK, known as MozFest. It brings together like-minded developers, journalists, young people, scientists, and educators from across the globe to celebrate the open internet movement. Openness is a core value of the maker movement, and many of the workshops and talks at this event include digital making.
There is no substitute for a good book or guide to help direct professional development in education innovation. Here is a list of some that might be useful to you:
- The Makerspace Playbook school edition
- Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager
- Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School by Laura Fleming
- Your Starter Guide to Makerspaces by Nicholas Provenzano
For your ambitions to be realized, you are going to need both practical and emotional support from other people! Finding allies within your community will help secure the legacy of your project, and finding external support will help you to keep inspired and to get the most out of your makerspace.
Identify at least three different people that you can call on to help you out, two from within your organization and one external person:
- What is their current role?
- What support will they bring to the project?
- What training do they need?
- How will you reward them in the long term for their efforts?
Share your answers in the comments, and add this information to your makerspace action plan.