Makerspaces and Student Wellbeing

When students engage in the many activities and opportunities provided in our Library Makerspace they relax and have fun. It is non-threatening, no testing or grading! It’s a place where they can fulfil their own desire to give things a go. Failing becomes part of the fun. To solve problems and challenges when creating and trying to make things work gives children confidence to succeed. Students can share, collaborate and help each other in the pursuit of making.

In the educational context Fraillon, J. (2004) defines ‘wellbeing is the degree to which a student is functioning effectively in the school community’. Research evidence shows that students with high levels of wellbeing are more likely to have higher academic achievement and complete Year 12; better mental health; and a more pro-social, responsible and lawful lifestyle (Australian Catholic University and Erebus International, 2008)

There has been plenty published about the pressures and stresses our young people are feeling. This, of course, prevents students from fully engaging in their learning. If a child is happy and feels success they will achieve but with pressure and too many expectations a child is unable to reach their full potential. I have mentioned this in a previous post.

Providing a welcoming and exciting environment within the classroom, library or home for children to ‘make’, explore and discover increases a child’s wellbeing. This can be no-tech, low-tech or all-tech depending on what materials and technologies are available. Sculpturing with newspaper, drawing with led pencils, sewing by hand or machine, creating animations or movies, playing X-Box Kinect or making games, building with K’Nex or LEGO, designing cards with paper circuitry, discovering the possibilities of 3D printing with a 3D pen or 3D printer or building a Piper computer are all activities students can enjoy and cultivate. This is an interesting website with some ideas to consider.

A child’s wellbeing is of utmost importance and a Makerspace can be one place to assist in ensuring a child is stimulated yet feels cheery, unanxious and relaxed. The joy and happiness we have seen in our Makerspace is evident of students’ wellbeing.

 

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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!

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