Students should use makerspaces to change the world

Makerspaces and 3D printers are all the rage in schools around the world. At the recent ISTE Conference, it seemed that every other session was devoted to converting your library or classroom into a makerspace.

At the recent Florida Association of Media in Education (FAME) Conference, keynote speaker Kevin Honeycutt urged librarians not to allow their makerspaces to become “3D versions of worksheets – where students replicate stuff other people have already made. Make room for innovation.”

Tom Murray, the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, recently wrote this article on the different ways schools use 3D printers, which are often (but not always) at the heart of a makerspace. Tom writes that most learning occurs in the design and modification process – not in the printing. He shares the story of the Hand Challenge, in which students design and print prosthetic devices for children who need them. Tom writes:

“To be clear, the story of the Hand Challenge is NOT about 3D printers. The story is about the lives of children that have forever been changed. It’s about students that were empowered by their teacher to change the world…and change the world they have.”

Changing the world must become the standard in your makerspace.

Challenge your students to create something that enriches the lives of others – then prepare to be astounded.

Here are just a few examples of students who have risen to this challenge:


Are you just beginning your makerspace journey? Read this excellent advice from educator and author John Spencer.

We recently published this course to help students become self-aware, empowered and passionate agents for change. It includes a framework that helps them figure out how they want to change the world, and then guides them in doing it. It is an outstanding complement to makerspaces and passion-based learning, such as Genius Hour. Click here to learn more and watch the launch video.