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ICDK Outlook

Emerging Academic Makerspaces

Academic makerspaces are remaking classrooms and curricula across American institutions of higher education. New machines like 3D printers and laser cutters alongside old-fashioned lathes and electrical soldering have made their way to the core of higher education, tying together hand and mind in the act of learning.

Despite their machine focus, fabrication skills are not the goal of academic makerspaces. Instead, fabrication is a means to realising a new approach to education based on hands-on collaboration, experimentation, design thinking, prototyping and experiential learning. By grounding educational activities in tangible processes and objects, makerspaces reinforce the creative, practical and applied dimension of higher education.

The hands-on pedagogy channelled by making is critical to educating a generation of students equipped for the future of work. The ability to address real-world problemsand design concrete solution using technology is key to a solid foundation for an ever-changing job market. For this reason American universities and colleges are carving out space on campus and dedicating resources to makerspaces. They integrate making in both formal educational programs as well as extra-curricularactivities to provide students with a set of skills they can apply across a range of professional situations.

American solutions to Danish problems

Makerspaces are by no means new to US higher education. Advanced technical training has always been essential to applied sciences such as engineering. For instance, elite institutions like MIT and Stanford University have used practice to deeper theoretical understanding since their founding. Danish universities, too, have long embraced the potential of makerspaces. Fabrication and prototyping are an integral part of technology-oriented curricula at DTU and RUC. More recently, SDU, KU and AU have introduced makerspaces to a broad student body along with increasing maker initiatives at many university colleges.


With this report, we hope to inspire Danish institutions of higher education to embrace makerspaces and make the most of their pedagogical value and potential.

The American makerspaces demonstrate how some of the best universities in the world embrace makerspaces as an important tool in educating a new generation of students to apply their knowledge and transform ideas into tangible solutions.