Since 2015, Lorenzo Guasti and Giovanni Nulli have studied what happens when a school decides to set up, internally, a Makerspace or a FabLab.
The research started by looking at schools across the entire country: the researchers visited the schools that, at that time, had an active laboratory that corresponded to the characteristics of the Makerspace or Fablab.
During the first round of visits, the level and circumstances of the schools involved were documented. The work continued by studying the material collected in order to identify common denominators and replicable management models with the ultimate aim of drafting a Manifesto of School Makerspaces and national Guidelines.
Thanks to the partnership between INDIRE and EUN, the work was scaled up from a national level to the European level, involving every country in the European School Network.
In fact, the Guidelines presented today are the result of the work carried out at the European level. In this case too, the research was based on visits to schools active in this field, with interviews, qualitative and quantitative questionnaires and data analysis and an extrapolation of common values to be required from those who want to start preparing a laboratory of this kind.
The European guidelines, translated into Italian, are a useful document for the teacher or headteacher who wants to take the path that will lead to a Makerspace or a FabLab being set up in their school, as they take account of basic situations and needs, and therefore the needs found in every school.
The first part of the guidelines provides a detailed definition of the laboratory and the benefits that the school can derive from it in terms of teaching methodology innovation, especially in the laboratory activities. This section defines the makerspace, outlining the scope within which it can exist. It tries to hypothesise which activities can be carried out within it and reflects on the pedagogical implications of this choice.
The second part explains how to start the process of creating/selecting the space, how to find the funds, how to set the laboratory up and (most importantly) presents the project’s sustainability models because, while it is true that it is relatively easy to create the space, what is equally true is how difficult it is to prevent this space from quickly falling into disuse, abandoned by teachers, aging without maintenance and update.
Don Bosco – Borgomanero (NO) Upper Secondary School photo (school architecture photo archive)
The Guidelines for School Principals and Teachers on School Makespaces have just come out. They are the result of the collaboration between INDIRE and EUN and are born thanks to a large preliminary work done in Italy by researchers Lorenzo Guasti and Giovanni Nulli. The research then extended to the European level