Prompt 1: We Believe…
What are your values? What is your philosophy?
This is the emotional core of your makerspace and what it addresses for your organization. While you and your team might have many beliefs about your learners and supporting learning, your most essential values for your makerspace or maker program will be surfaced here.
- Do you believe all children are creative or should be creative?
- Do you believe all adults can be entrepreneurs?
- Do you believe all members of your community should have access to high-tech tools and materials?
Prompt 2: Based On…
What are our strengths? What are our areas of expertise?
There’s a reason why a makerspace or maker program makes sense in your institution. And, there are certain strengths and expertise that your institution has.
- Are you a leading provider of children’s programs in your community?
- Do your programs provide experiences that develop scientific thinking?
- Has your organization been at the cutting edge of technological learning experiences in your area?
- Do you and your team bring strengths that proove a makerspace is a natural evolution of what you provide for your community members or target audience?
Prompt 3: We Aim To…
What are our goals? What do we want to accomplish?
Makerspaces and maker programs aim to achieve a wide variety of salient and reasonable goals. However, productive makerspaces and maker programs are clear about what they want to accomplish based on their strengths and their core values. This prompt seeks to center on what impact your makerspace or maker program hopes to have.
- Do you want to develop creativity in the children your program serves?
- Do you want to develop scientific inquiry skills in your program participants or their technological fluency?
- Do you want to target specific technical or craft skills for young adults that may translate to the workplace?
- Maybe you want to create a consistent place for teens to come after school so that they are not “on the streets.”
Prompt 4: Working With…
Who is the audience that our program or space serves? Who are the stakeholders of our program or space?
This prompt provides a chance to specify whom the stakeholders are that the makerspace is targeting.
- Does the makerspace focus on a particular age group, or demographic group?
- Does your makerspace target a particular expertise level of amateurs or experts?
- Does your makerspace seek to work with a particular interest group like hobbyists, students, or teachers?
Prompt 5: Because We Know…
Why is this important? What have you observed?
You can think of this prompt as your “needs statement.” What problem or issue will your makerspace or maker program be solving or addressing. This prompt provides an opportunity to incorporate some data into your pitch. Although it might strengthen your story to use “hard” data to support your makerspace or maker program in the minds of some stakeholders, what you see and what your audience tells you also provides compelling warrant for what you are doing.
- Is science learning important because currently only 10% of your community’s juniors perform competently on state standardized science tests?
- Are creative arts classes being cut from local schools and so youth need opportunities to engage in creative endeavors?
- Have you noticed many groups of teens hanging out near your organization with little to do?
- Have children told you they want to learn how to make clocks?
Prompt 6: We Will Succeed When…
What are our metrics for success? What are the indicators that our program is working? How will you know that you are reaching the impact that you aim to have? Metrics for success are challenging, but useful for showing the change over time, as a makerspace or maker program becomes a reality.
- While many programs traditionally use metrics like the number of people who attend a program as a measure of success, those metrics might not truly capture the quality of the learning experience that is being creating in a makerspace or through a maker program.
- Perhaps the number of participants served is appropriate if your goal is simply to offer a safe, alternative experience to what teens in your community currently might be doing.
- If the design process is important for your space, then evidence of iteration may be your marker of success.