Balancing makerspaces with heavy testing requirements is proving to be a challenge for teachers who struggle to avoid teaching to only satisfy the requirements of multiple tests. In addition some schools are finding that makerspaces require noise and activity, but the only space they have for creative work is in or near the school library.
The maker movement has increased across K-12 schools over the past few years, encouraging student driven education that is collaborative and creative. Many teachers have welcomed the move away from the “sage on the stage” model of imparting information to students. However, many schools have test-driven curriculum emphasizing basic skills in reading, arithmetic, and writing.
“When you give kids the opportunity to work with their hands, and to go and show it from start to finish, they become so engaged, that they can talk with passion about it,” said Christy Ziegler, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment in Shawnee Mssion, Kansas. “The days of standing up and rote reporting because it was assigned to me is changing.”
Quantifying the effect of the maker movement is challenging because research has barely begun, according to Stephanie Chang, director of programs for the Oakland, California-based Maker Education Initiative. As test scores become more of a component in evaluating teachers, balancing the requirements of educational mandates with curriculum that encourages student self discovery can be daunting.