Can You DIG it? Designing to Support a Robust Maker Culture in a University Makerspace

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Katie Krummeck
Rob Rouse


As makerspaces are increasingly incorporated into mainstream schooling, it has become important to provide educators and administrators with detailed examples of how to support a robust maker culture within those makerspaces so that student participation and learning are maximized. In this design case, we describe our efforts to design for and support a robust maker culture in a university makerspace, the Deason Innovation Gymnasium at Southern Methodist University. Our focus is on designing the space and the learning experiences that happen within the space to promote a maker culture. To do this, we consider three critical elements: (a) encouraging student ownership, (b) fostering a maker mindset, and (c) showcasing student achievements. To illustrate our design decisions and their impact, we present examples of two types of maker-based learning experiences: (a) real-world design challenges and (b) community design and build challenges. We analyze how each type of challenge supported students participating in a maker culture. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this design case for individuals interested in supporting a robust maker culture in their own makerspaces.

Article Details

How to Cite
Krummeck, K., & Rouse, R. (2017). Can You DIG it? Designing to Support a Robust Maker Culture in a University Makerspace. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 8(1).
Author Biographies

Katie Krummeck, Southern Methodist University

Katie Krummeck is the director of the Deason Innovation Gym at the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. Katie has worked in numerous educational settings, including the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design at Stanford University (“the”) as well as K12 schools. Katie’s work has focused on designing, experimenting and hacking at the education system, in order to create positive change in how students are taught and learn. Katie is currently working to reimagine and grow SparkTruck, an innovative mobile maker lab for elementary school students, pivoting the project to create more lasting change by inspiring and supporting teachers to integrate creativity and hands-on learning into their classrooms

Rob Rouse, Southern Methodist University

Rob Rouse is a clinical assistant professor of STEM education at Southern Methodist University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. His teaching and research interests focus on the development of integrated STEM learning environments in K-12 settings and designing pedagogical supports for maker-based education.