Maker Space and Participatory Culture

Participatory culture supports the notion of creating and sharing new ideas and content. It builds connections and community and is a significant social and cultural activity. There is a growing trend in regards to new technologies that children ustilise in schools and how these manifestations are transforming the educational landscape. The main area that is seeing this transformation is the school library and the maker spaces that are being born or revitalised from this movement. We have always utilised the school library to showcase our projects, whether it be dioramas, or final art pieces from senior art assessments.

Learning through making crosses the divide between formal and informal learning. Popular cultural activities with in the school library can range from many different activites. These are always indicative of the schools finances. But the purpose of the activities is not based on the tools such as 3D printers and the latest technology but how the students work through the process of learning new skills and the created product at the end. It creates an environment that students can exercise agency and even entrepreneurial behaviours. Teacher librarians can challenge and support their students to enter into competitions individually or as a group.


Participating in these affinity spaces also has economic implications. We suspect that young people who spend more time playing within these new media environments will feel greater comfort interacting with one another via electronic channels, will have greater fluidity in navigating information landscapes, will be better able to multitask and make rapid decisions about the quality of information they are receiving, and will be able to collaborate better with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. (Jenkins. et al. 2009. p13).

It will also encourage students who have interests in STEM and digital story telling to interact with other students virtually and multi task the different platforms that they will interact on. Collaborations with national and international contests that involve games such as Minecraft can be displayed by having an exhibition of the many different landscapes and characters that have been built over a set period of time.

Teachers and teacher librarians can collaborate and build relationships based on activities they have designed with in the curriculum. Mihaela who is the head of the Art Department at a Melbourne High school, collaborated an art project with the teacher librarian at the school. For this project they researched beyond the confines of renown artists online and directed their searches through Pinterest as they were able to build a categorical library along the way. This project demonstrates that neither teacher or student are no longer confined to specific means of obtaining information. And utilising these platforms broadens the students potential for engaging with other artists work that they may have not previously known about.

There is now a huge variety of new media literacy’s that include traditional print culture but expands to include new forms of literacy that include digital media and mass media with in libraries at schools and in the public domain. Teacher librarians and librarians are the light posts for these new media’s that have the ability to intellectually enrich young people and equip them with skills that will help them exceed in future endeavors such as design, computer science, engineering and the arts.


2 thoughts on “Maker Space and Participatory Culture

  1. Hi Samantha,
    Reading your blog transported me back to days spent in my own school library! As I read your blog I am caught up in a sense of nostalgia and excitement! I can feel your enthusiasm for the library environment and maker spaces – a new term for me, so I have learnt something! In my own schooling experience and also in my experience as a teacher I have to agree with what you are saying – that library spaces are greatly underutilised. After reading your post I am inspired to collaborate more with my school librarian. My view of the library space has been changed since reading your blog post. You are indeed a lightpost for new media. I want to come to YOUR library!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leonie,

      Thank you so much for your lovely response. I am yet to work in a library, but I am so passionate about how children learn by utilising new media. I can not wait to be part of this always evolving industry.


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