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Article

Student Development at the Boundaries: Makerspaces as Affordances for Engineering Students’ Development

1
College of Education, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2
Department of Engineering Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
3
College of Education, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR 72035, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kylie Peppler
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3058; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063058
Received: 15 January 2021 / Revised: 4 March 2021 / Accepted: 9 March 2021 / Published: 11 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of the Maker Movement)
University-based makerspaces are receiving increasing attention as promising innovations that may contribute to the development of future engineers. Using a theory of social boundary spaces, we investigated whether the diverse experiences offered at university-based makerspaces may contribute to students’ learning and development of various “soft” or “21st century” skills that go beyond engineering-specific content knowledge. Through interviews with undergraduate student users at two university-based makerspaces in the United States we identified seven different types of boundary spaces (where multiple communities, and the individuals and activities affiliated with those communities, come together). We identified students engaging in the processes of identification, reflection, and coordination, which allowed them to make sense of, and navigate, the various boundary spaces they encountered in the makerspaces. These processes provided students with opportunities to engage with, and learn from, individuals and practices affiliated with various communities and disciplines. These opportunities can lead to students’ development of necessary skills to creatively and collaboratively address interdisciplinary socio-scientific problems. We suggest that university-based makerspaces can offer important developmental experiences for a diverse body of students that may be challenging for a single university department, program, or course to offer. Based on these findings, we recommend university programs and faculty intentionally integrate makerspace activities into undergraduate curricula to support students’ development of skills, knowledge, and practices relevant for engineering as well as 21st century skills more broadly. View Full-Text
Keywords: makerspaces; postsecondary education; engineering education; boundary spaces; 21st century skills makerspaces; postsecondary education; engineering education; boundary spaces; 21st century skills
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MDPI and ACS Style

Choi, Y.H.; Bouwma-Gearhart, J.; Lenhart, C.A.; Villanueva, I.; Nadelson, L.S. Student Development at the Boundaries: Makerspaces as Affordances for Engineering Students’ Development. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3058. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063058

AMA Style

Choi YH, Bouwma-Gearhart J, Lenhart CA, Villanueva I, Nadelson LS. Student Development at the Boundaries: Makerspaces as Affordances for Engineering Students’ Development. Sustainability. 2021; 13(6):3058. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063058

Chicago/Turabian Style

Choi, Yoon Ha, Jana Bouwma-Gearhart, Cindy A. Lenhart, Idalis Villanueva, and Louis S. Nadelson. 2021. "Student Development at the Boundaries: Makerspaces as Affordances for Engineering Students’ Development" Sustainability 13, no. 6: 3058. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063058

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