This course is peppered with the terms “makerspaces” and “maker programs.” This project defines “making” as building or adapting objects using real tools and real materials and engaging learners in the process of using these tools and materials. Maker-based learning experiences take place in a wide variety of settings in museums and libraries. Therefore, “maker programs” is used to acknowledge that making can take place with or without a dedicated space. A maker program can encompass the maker activities that are carried out in the conference room of the library, using a mobile cart, working out of a closet or acting as a “pop up” in any corner of a museum or library.
The term “maker” or “making” can be inclusive or exclusive, depending on your perspective. Here, “making” is viewed as an umbrella term that may include programs that refer to themselves as tinkering rather than making, or spaces that refer to themselves as Fab Labs, rather than makerspaces. While some will argue that there are meaningful differences between those terms, we’ve chosen to group these terms together for the purpose of creating the most broadly applicable framework. The field continues to learn a great deal from a variety of hands-on, participatory learning experiences. Our project team asserts that all programs may gain value from embracing the elements of our framework.