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Keep it Simple and Keep it Real: Creating Inclusive Makerspace Environments

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2021 CoNECD


Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 3 Slot 8 Technical Session 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

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Paper Authors


Jill Davishahl Western Washington University

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Jill Davishahl is Assistant Professor and First Year Programs Director in the Engineering + Design department at Western Washington University. Jill's teaching, service, and research activities focus on enhancing the engineering and design first year student experience by providing the foundational technical skills, student engagement opportunities, and professional skill development necessary to improve success in the major, with emphasis on supporting traditionally underserved student populations. Her current research focuses on creating inclusive and equitable learning environments through the development and implementation of strategies geared towards increasing student sense of belonging.

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Over the past decade, the makerspace movement has transformed engineering education by providing students with open access to equipment and work spaces where they can develop their problem solving skills, collaborate with other students, and gain confidence in their abilities. However, recent research has shown that many makerspace environments do not readily support diverse populations, create tensions between different student groups, and can sometimes lead to a work environment that feels exclusive and unwelcoming. This paper summarizes the strategies implemented within an academic makerspace that were specifically designed to create an inclusive and welcoming work environment. This includes creating a simplified work environment, development of ongoing simple and accessible makerspace activities, equality of student involvement, informal introduction to social justice topics, creation of a resources library, peer workshop development, and weekly open discussion seminars. Preliminary research results will be presented along with a detailed discussion of the opportunities and obstacles of implementation.

Davishahl, J. (2021, January), Keep it Simple and Keep it Real: Creating Inclusive Makerspace Environments Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . 10.18260/1-2--36103

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