Benefits and challenges of transforming high school makerspaces into working hubs for the maker community


This study examines the benefits and challenges of creating partnerships between schools and its local maker community. Makerspaces are dedicated facilities for individuals to create products with specialised tools, which vary greatly in different spaces. This paper focuses on makerspaces with technologies that facilitate fabrication. Based on interviews, we describe the benefits and challenges of makerspace-high school partnerships and the potential partnership between makerspace and tech schools. In high schools, makerspaces provide students with equipment to discover problems, explore ideas and gain self-confidence. In the community, makerspaces provide patrons opportunities to develop making skills, collaborate, generate new economic activity, and build community. Despite having similar objectives, the needs of high school makerspaces and public makerspaces are vastly different. Hence, school-makerspace partnership attempts in Victoria, Australia have often been difficult to implement and more importantly, sustain.

Keywords:  maker community, school partnerships, makerspaces, tech school

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