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Inspiring life-long learners

If you hope to inspire life-long learners, one of the most compelling methods is to connect the dots between concept and real, tangible outcome. Maker spaces enable students to bring ideas out of the realm of theory and into the realm of hands-on experience. Here are four questions you can ask to help you design a successful maker space.

1. Who will use the space?

A space intended for elementary school students is naturally going to call for a design that's different than one intended for high school through adult learners. Additionally, its important to consider the following:

  • Which of your exiting or future classes will the space support?

  • Is it meant only for certain subject areas or for all academic subjects?

  • Will you open your maker space to members of the public, such as adults for night classes or students from other schools?

First and foremost, an education space serves people, your students. Without understanding who it is you're hoping to serve, you cannot get the most from your space. Take the time to ask some questions about "who" will be stepping into this space after you've designed and built it.

2. How and when will students use the space?

Understanding how and when the space will be used further informs your design needs.

  • Will the space be used for formal, structured learning activities led by a teacher?

  • Does the space need to support informal, student-directed learning and exploration? Or both?

  • Will students use the space during school hours? Before or after school? Or both?

A room intended for use under the supervision of an educator during school hours may be laid out differently than one intended for public use throughout the week, particularly with regards to security, storage, and maintenance.

3. What are your instructional goals?

What are you hoping students will learn by using the maker space—core academic skills, 21st century skills, or both?

  • How do your intended learning activities align with state instructional standards, Next Generation Science Standards, or other curriculum goals?

  • If 21st skills are your desired outcome, which specific skills are you hoping students will acquire?

  • How will the activities completed in the space lead to the development of these skills?

OnPoint works with educators and our partners to ensure each new learning space is built with intentional connections to the goals and standards being pursued in each school and district. This level of care is applied to the overall layout of the learning space, furnishings, and each piece of technology being incorporated.

4. How will you measure success?

The work of implementing an effective maker space isn't complete after the space has been designed and built. Once the learning environment is in use, its time to start evaluating its effectiveness to ensure your students and teachers are getting what they need from it. What methods will you use to make sure your new investment is effective?

  • Formal measurements of the skills students gain, informal observation and reflection, or both?

  • If you’re measuring the skills that students gain, what types of assessments will you use?

  • If you’re using informal observation and reflection, how will you collect this information?

  • Will you make use of teacher observation forms, post-program surveys of students or some other method?

Ongoing, effective evaluation is essential to the success of learning institutions. Whether it be curriculum, technology, or entire classrooms, it is essential to continually observe outcomes. To that end, OnPoint offers Progress Adviser; a complete web-based observation tool that makes that process easy.

Ready to begin? OnPoint can help.

Contact us for a consultation today and learn how you can inspire the next generation of lifelong learners!


OnPoint is committed to continually seeking out and partnering with industry-leaders in furniture, technology, and the construction of education spaces.

This article was inspired by a recent publication from one such partner: Paragon.

You can download the full PDF from Paragon below:


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