Makerspaces Develop Employability Skills
There has been so much talk about 21st century skills, employability skills, and essential skills over the past two decades and their impact on student development and the economy. How are these skills developed? Why do students graduate without these essential skills and unprepared to enter the workforce? During my time at IDOE, I was shocked by how much employers wanted to talk about employability skills. I often gathered employers to talk about content for standards frameworks (often in engineering and technology), but they wanted to talk about employability skills. They often told me that they could teach content, but they sought students who already had a set of essential skills walking in the door.
Employability skills, the new name for 21st century skills, are the “soft” skills that all students need to be ready to enter the workforce. The Employability Skills Standards, recently released by the Indiana Department of Education, are a guiding light for the loose talk that once surrounded this area of education.
These essential skills, including problem solving, effective communication, adaptability, and perseverance, blossom in a makerspace. When students are engaged in hands-on learning and making, they are naturally asking questions, solving problems, and navigating their own learning. The teacher has been turned into the facilitator and the student is in charge of his or her own learning.
Our Elementary, Middle, and High School curricula incorporate the new Employability Skills Standards from IDOE. Our curriculum is innovative and saves time for teachers who wish to integrate making and STEM education into the classroom but are not sure where to start. Need additional training? Our professional development coaches educators on how to become the facilitator in their classroom using a broad variety of maker products and materials.
Many of us as educators are focused on providing the best possible opportunities for our learners while preparing them for the road ahead. Developing life-long learners has been at the heart of education for centuries. Let’s bring back the joy to teaching and learning through making!