A maker space is like a community center. They have tools, technology, and various art and manufacturing equipment. They are wonderful places where people can play, create and learn. Maker spaces create new opportunities for the public.
There are No actual maker spaces in Nashville today. However, there are organizations which have some maker space elements. There is a co-working space for makers called Fort Houston. Most of the clientele right now seem to be small businesses. I think a similar space is being built. Although these have maker space elements they are not complete maker spaces. There is also studio NPL run by Nashville Public Library but it is only for teens. Because it's geared for minors the programs are very directed. Hacker Consortium, Bon Homme Collectif and many others maker spaces have all gone defunct. Similar to libraries, they are tricky to monetize without nonprofit funding (grants, gov support, others)
Maker spaces should be:
- Accessible- reasonable price points for individuals
- Self Directed- people learn and create the things they choose
- Welcoming- communities with egalitarian cultures
- With outreach to under-served populations
We were able to hear from Rice University and Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt on Friday about the surprising advantages of maker spaces.
Some of the advantages they have found that maker spaces:
- Aid in retention
- Make the curriculum stronger
- Let people access tools and skills they would not be able to reach otherwise
- Seem to improve gender parity and increase confidence in underrepresented populations
- Matches the outline of ways students tell us they most like to learn with hands on real world experience as opposed to lecture
Make Nashville is wanting to establish a maker space and they have been working on it four years. They have gained traction by having a kick starter. They ask individuals to give $100 to become a founding member. If they could get 40 people to give then they would receive a dollar for dollar match. They now have 56 people, including the founder of JS Foundary. This opportunity closes December 31.
Make Nashville has several pieces of donated lab and maker equipment and donated furniture. They have funding. They are currently seeking space. If you would like to help support this movement you can donate at: http://www.makenashville.com/donate/
If you aren't in Nashville but want to get your geek on: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/059651428X?creativeASIN=059651428X&linkCode=w00&linkId=BB73VGC6OINSM57K&ref_=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til&tag=teachersandco-20