Supporting kids’ development through maker education

Megatrends, or broad factors that shape society, play a critical role in helping us understand the world we live in today and anticipate future developments. Among the most significant megatrends of the 21st century is the rapid development of technology and its impact on our daily lives. As technology advances, it will create new job opportunities and transform how we work. Keeping up with megatrends is crucial for staying informed and ahead of the curve in today’s fast-paced world.

Among the most significant megatrends of the 21st century is the rapid development of technology and its impact on our daily lives.

The following figure illustrates the main keywords identified by McKinsey & Company in the context of future skills:

Source: Compiled by the author based on McKinsey & Company research

The term “making” is believed to play a vital role in the education revolution. In the following, you can read how to support a kid’s development and creativity by creating makerspaces.

Makerspaces work on the principle of the acronym STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths. The purpose of Makerspace is to allow a child to see herself as an inventor, developer, or creator. Through trial and error, the child can acquire new skills, experience the failure of the original idea, explore possible alternatives, and thus improve the vision.

Photo: VIVITA Estonia

Kids can improve their creativity in makerspaces in several ways:

  1. Interactive learning: Through hands-on learning, kids can use various tools and equipment to explore, experiment, and create with different materials and methods.
  2. Collaboration: Makerspaces frequently encourage cooperation and collaboration, which can teach kids to work together, exchange ideas, and create a sense of belonging in them.
  3. Project-based learning: This instruction teaches kids to think critically, plan and carry out a project, and apply what they have learned practically.
  4. Encourage experimentation: Makerspaces promote experimentation, free idea exploration, and learning through making mistakes. Experimenting enables kids to take chances and learn from their errors.
  5. Technology access: Makerspaces frequently offer access to technologies like 3D printing, laser cutting, and programming. Children can learn about advanced technology and gain technical skills thanks to this.
  6. Mentorship: Makerspaces often have experienced mentors and facilitators who can guide kids through the creative process and give them feedback and encouragement.

Children often decide to go to makerspaces themselves. In Vivita, children are given a time frame within which they can decide for themselves what time and how long they want to work on their project in the creativity lab. This allows the child to socialize with other children outside school and their usual circle of acquaintances.

Photo: VIVITA Estonia

Vivita is one of the international makerspaces. Vivita children’s and youth creativity accelerators don’t have teachers or a formal study program. The activities’ carriers are the children aged 9–18. Adults have a supporting and inspiring role on this journey. We believe it builds children’s self-confidence and helps them grow into intelligent, wise, and responsible world-changers.

Vivita helps children and youngsters realize their awesome ideas by teaching them how to solve problems, develop hardware and software, and, in the most general sense, invent and create something themselves. Vivistops are child-friendly open workshops and invention laboratories where children can discover, experiment, and create independently. We call the children who attend Vivistops — vivinauts.

Vivita helps children and youngsters realize their awesome ideas by teaching them how to solve problems, develop hardware and software, and, in the most general sense, invent and create something themselves.

Photo: VIVITA Estonia

At Vivita, it is considered necessary that children have the right to speak and that their voice is heard in what products and services are created for them. At the beginning of 2022, a design sprint was held in cooperation between Vivita and Lennusadam. They discussed and dreamed together what the children think is the most exciting exhibition experience and how to create it. During the project, the children designed prototypes, which Lennusadam considered when creating innovations. Vivita’s role was to support the children in the journey that allowed them to grow from an idea to a prototype.

In the following, we bring out the feedback from the Lennusadam representative about the collaboration between children and Lennusadam:

“Collaboration with Vivita has helped us develop Lennusadam’s permanent exhibition with and for children. Through the collaboration, we got a better idea of ​​what children think and which exhibits at Lennusadam need an update. We also got ideas for making the exhibition more exciting for children. During the three-day workshop, children proposed four visions and developed them into prototypes. We have already adopted ideas from children and created the Lennusadam program inspired by their thoughts.”

Photo: VIVITA Estonia

For us at Vivita, it is essential that kids feel good with us. We also asked vivinauts’ parents about their child coming to us to tinker and develop their creativity. Here’s what vivinaut’s mom Merle thinks about her child going to Vivistop:

“Vivistop is an extremely rewarding laboratory where children can discover different fields for themselves and learn to notice and solve problems. I love that there are both digital and hands-on options. It is very nice that the child has the space to create from scratch, experiment with ideas that may seem silly at first glance, doubt, move at his own pace, take his time, and even fail. At the same time, friendly instructors offer technical and moral support if the child needs it. I am very impressed with your trusting and creative atmosphere.”

Text: Merilyn Haugas
March 2023

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