Global Innovation Gathering is proud to have Junge Tüfler*innen among our members. During workshops, they observe how children are fascinated by plants that make music, plasticine that glows because it can conduct electricity, or a talking poster. When they understand how these things are made, they quickly arrive at the point: “Maybe I can do that, too. I’ll try that myself!”

Doing things yourself to develop and experience your effectiveness is an essential part of maker education and, accordingly, at the heart of all learning formats. Through project- and problem-based learning, maker education strengthens key future competencies such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

A diagram shows the overlap of the 4K model (Communication Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking) with Digital Competencies (Reception, Reflection, Production).
A diagram shows the overlap of the 4K model (Communication Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking) with Digital Competencies (Reception, Reflection, Production). Maker spaces offer a near-limitless number of possibilities for exploration: also, digital skills can be taught here. Fascinating: the area for production, i.e. being able to design digital content and systems yourself. Illustration: Carlotta Klee. “Maker Spaces in der Schule: So geht Lernen heute.”

Learning by doing, which equally involves “head, heart and hand”, characterizes their way of working. They consciously draw on the insights of great reform pedagogues such as Pestalozzi, Montessori, Piaget and Papert: self-experience is at the centre of their work, and in the spirit of playful learning, they always choose an active approach that appeals to their inner curiosity and enthusiasm through discovery and exploration. To this end, they design environments that make learning an experience.

E: Illustration: bird's eye view of a work table at which a group of young people are tinkering together on a robot. Illustration: Carlotta Klee. "Maker Spaces in der Schule: So geht Lernen heute."
Illustration: Carlotta Klee. “Maker Spaces in Schools: How Learning Works Today.”

Learners start tinkering and trying things on their initiative. Often an idea doesn’t work out the first time around. Then they try again, look at the solutions others found and get inspiration and suggestions. They keep tinkering, asking questions, wondering, coming up with their ideas, exploring, experimenting, and then: the spark in their eyes, a cheer, a happy face. “I made this myself! I can do it myself!” – the confidence in one’s creative power has grown. And immediately, the child walks through the room a bit taller.

In the Junge Tüfler*innen Maker Space, the GoodLab, they regularly tinker with participants, as here on Girls’ Day 2022.

That’s why they feel most at home in maker spaces and FabLabs, in open learning spaces that offer easy access to tools, technologies, materials and know-how. Maker education can be practised in these spaces. Here, children and young people can explore and create.

In their handbook “Makerspaces in der Schule: So geht Lernen heute” (German-language only), which they developed in cooperation with Save the Children Deutschland and the TU Berlin, they state:

“Due to their openness, maker spaces offer the ideal environment for gradually gaining new specialist experience in dealing with technologies and materials, while at the same time acquiring important meta competencies. Tinkering, experimenting, playing, programming, exploring, building, and inventing help learners discover their own talents, which they can develop further, and they experience self-efficacy through the concrete implementation of their own ideas in projects. […] Especially learners who have difficulties following the sometimes quite theoretical and abstract school activities learn important specialized knowledge in maker spaces simply along the way. For example, it can be much easier to grasp the principle of variables if the learners build a robot that reacts according to the sensor value. Maker spaces thus represent an essential tool for promoting equal opportunities and counteracting the education gap.”

A girl is building a prototype.
Do-it-yourself – thinking is the focus of Maker Education.

Do you want to start a maker space yourself? Do you have any questions about maker education? Feel free to contact the folks at Junge Tüfler*innen: and maybe start something together. 😉 Let’s Make it!

Junge Tüfler*innen is an outstanding example of Critical Making and Critical Making Education. You can check similar initiatives and projects on the Critical Making community or learn more about the project on its project website.

*As in the manual: They have explicitly chosen the widely used spelling maker space to make it easier for beginners to find further literature. Nevertheless, we are aware of the discussion in the German-speaking world regarding the use of the more process-oriented term “Making Space”, which they support. They also support the FabLab movement and share the same mindset of making and sharing.

*post information and images all courtesy of Junge Tüfler*innen on post@junge-tueftler.de

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