New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Design in Engineering Education
‘Making’ an Impact: An Ethnographic Approach to University Maker Spaces
In recent years, more and more attention has been given to the maker movement and the potential therein. To get a more complete understanding of maker spaces and their impact on students, it is necessary to take a closer look at the intricacies of the spaces. It is important to learn the underlying motivation behind the creation of these spaces and how the spaces are being used by the students. The research in this paper presents the first efforts to reach a deeper understanding of maker spaces and, in particular, university maker spaces. In order to reach this understanding, the research team employed ethnographic techniques to study the spaces, their users, and their owners. This paper reports preliminary results from an ethnographic study performed primarily at James Madison University during the fall of 2015. Students as ethnographers have observed university maker spaces from their unique point of view, and in this way, the students were able to gain key insights of how the maker spaces work and some possible modes of improvement not seen by those already invested in the spaces. By knowing what drives the start of these spaces and what works in the current spaces, the research team hopes to be able to uncover the underlying practices that make for a successful space in order to share this knowledge with current and developing university maker spaces.
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