The relative explosion of MOOCs (massive open online courses) may not have ended the university experience as we know it, but it has certainly put virtual education on the radar of policymakers throughout the country. However, there is another trend starting that is bringing education back to a more personal and physical environment – the makerspace.
The Maker Movement has taken the pursuit of creative technologies from the realm of hobbyists and has made it more accessible – seeding innovative new industries in cities and communities around the U.S.
College campuses have obviously embraced the trend. Within the past month alone, new makerspaces have been announced at large schools like the University of Michigan, Syracuse University, University of Maryland, University of Utah, Georgetown University and the University of Nebraska. These and other spaces are capitalizing on a rising tide of public interest and technological advances making 3D printers and other equipment more affordable.
Governments are taking notice and looking to seed the creation of similar spaces on a broader scale.
A new state grant in Wisconsin to start a ‘Community Creative Space’ at the Fond du Lac Public Library is intended as a blueprint for small and medium-sized communities throughout the state. New Jersey is targeting libraries as well with similar grants going to 14 across the state.
Other locations are getting in on the trend as well – mixing federal, state and/or local support with a bit of private backing and a lot of public interest to develop a new sort of creative lab for innovative thinkers.
[Flickr credit: Jason Gessner]
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