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When you think about a school, what comes to mind?

It has the teachers, students, curriculum, classes, timetable for classes and many other things.

Now, imagine walking into a school without a teacher. Imagine entering a learning centre and it is called a school without classes, students and assignments.

Would that feel and sound odd? Yes, it may seem odd.

You are welcome to a Makerspace!

Think for a moment, ‘what should happen in an education space?’ At least, it should be a space that allows the mind of anyone there to explore and turning ideas, imaginations and thought into realities.

It should be a place that gives flight to dreams that makes gifts and skills to flourish, perhaps into things that can be seen, used, touched and felt

These are the kinds of amazing things that you will experience at a makerspace.

What is makerspace?

It is an open environment for creativity, collaboration and active learning which spark awesome innovation through trying and error or proven scientific research.

In this article, I want to share with you five reasons every country in Africa need to embrace the potentials that makerspaces can create for a transformative educational system.

Makerspaces Helps to Listen To Talents, Instead of Focusing on Needs And Weaknesses.

There is no one without a form of weakness but the weakness must not weaken the strength such individual carries. As Dr Tayo Said, ‘Focus instead on your strengths and use them to build a future you can be proud of.’

It is unfortunate that the people we regard as academically poor tend to have other unique skills and talents. What we think and act as an individual is the reflection of a bit out of the dam of innovation in our thought.

Through improvisation and practice, with access to different forms of resources, it is possible to turn what we perceive into real objects and possibilities.

At Prikkle Academy Makerspace, we set to work and never think of anyone as a dormant, useless, poor or base-of-whatever-pyramid being.

With much to do with our eye, infinity power of our hand and limitless resources in our locality which are mostly counted as waste, we have proven that, we can change the world – one person at a time.

We can inspire the minds of children, youths and adults if we give a listening ear to talents rather than fixing their weakness. We can soar higher and we can create our realities.

Rural communities are named with different identity from impoverished poverty to area with less innovation, yet in our grassroots makerspace, we have discovered that they are usually surrounded with limitless resources that can be used for different innovative projects.

Makerspaces Sees Nothing Is A Waste.

In the world where action towards saving the climate is on top of the news, things regarded as waste can be transform to make other useful resources for use of mankind while saving our the planet, creating jobs and creating social change

At Prikkle Academy Makerspace, we believe an individual with creative mind and hands that connect ideas into innovation is importance to sustainable development goals.

Here are the examples of waste turned into amazing solutions. We have created different solution at the makerspace from ‘thrash’, for example, setting up bottles, space and hanging them on the wall to produce vegetables.

Makerspaces Leverages On Community Assets, Instead Of Their Problems

One of the shifts of mind we need for an enabling society is to stop seeing communities with a problem perspective, while neglecting all the great gifts there.

If problems are the only things we see in our local communities without paying close attention to the goldmines in those communities, the development we think or look forward to see may be far away.

At Prikkle Academy Makerspace in Afon, Kwara State, Nigeria, we collaborated with residents to turn an abandoned public building into a place where everyone can come to, to share, learn, find tools and get inspired to create different solutions.

Makerspaces Are Practical, Not Just Theories – Trying Out Ideas As It Happens In Real Life

The advent and increase in the number of innovation and skill hub is a wakeup call for the essence of the practical side of the theories acquired in regular schools

Makerspaces allows people to try whatever idea they have and turn them into real life possible solution. This does not have to be the perfect innovation or with the real materials needed.

There are several tools that can be used as improvised tools, if conventional tools are inaccessible. We have seen young people making out things from the local materials in their immediate communities.

To see emerging solutions in all we do, there is need to pay a rapt attention to practical knowledge by introducing makerspaces in our various homes, schools and learning institutions. This is also the goals of technical, vocational education and training (TVET).

Any environment dedicated to think, create and try things out things will produce problem solver and innovator.

The uniqueness of makerspaces to students, teenagers and youths is the chance to recreate what has been created already or to put their fresh ideas into practice which is the essence of education.

Any unique idea without practice will remain an idea until it is put into practice through trial-error-success approach.

There is no better way to inspire the minds of young people than to allow them put whatsoever they imagine into practice. One of the great lessons from the covid-19 pandemic was that, technology will be more in demand both now and in the future.

While many countries could not afford covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), makerspaces created low-cost PPEs from local resources in Africa.

Makerspaces Help Participants Think For Themselves

Unlike regular schools, where students accept most of the instruction and guide given by their teachers, maker space allows students to also think for themselves based on the solution they are trying to create.

Rather than rote learning, it encourages autonomy, freedom to break and make, the courage to ask difficult questions and uncover unconventional wisdom.

REFERENCE: Makerspaces For Education And Training

Prikkle Academy…inspiring community builders.

To share your skills with our participants, as a volunteer, please click here > I want to volunteer for Prikkle Academy.

The work we do to help the gifts of young people blossom from rural communities requires different resources. We need financial, technical, social, economic and environment support.

To donate and help us continue this work, please click here > I want to donate to Prikkle Academy

Written by Tobi Akinbola (Prikkle Academy Research Assistant).