Remake Making: Understanding Adoption and Adaptation of Facilitated Making in Libraries
As part of its overall strategy to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program funds innovative research, approaches and resources for use in a variety of settings. The project plans to deliver and improve a constructivist professional development (PD) program called Remake Making for library staff that work with youth in maker spaces. The proposed project will be led by a team at the University of Pittsburgh and builds on a pilot facilitation framework developed in an earlier project by this team. The PD program responds to the rapid growth of makerspaces with a constructivist PD program focused on facilitation. Maker spaces are a new service model in many public libraries, part of a broader shift in general library services. Effective facilitation for learning, like that required in makerspaces, is a relatively new facet of librarianship that is not a consistent part of librarian education or PD. The project will work with two local library systems with libraries that have makerspaces but little to no PD opportunities around facilitation. The project plans to iteratively design and investigate the Remake Making program, its impact on library maker facilitators and their interactions with child and youth learners. This will provide a setting for preliminary research about constructivist PD and the experiences and struggles of staff who facilitate making in libraries within the context of shifting library norms. This project will produce an efficient, maker-friendly PD system for facilitation in makerspaces, applicable to a broad range of informal and formal educators who wish to incorporate facilitated making.
The project plans to conduct an iterative development process involving several cohorts of participants and using multiple data sources which include embedded PD workshop data, participant pre-post surveys, observation of library makerspaces, and interviews/focus groups. A participatory approach will be employed by involving participants in creating and refining research questions within the scope of the project. This approach is designed around inquiry-based improvement, which is experienced by participants as reflective practice or continuous improvement. The proposed project aims to advance knowledge and PD strategies for facilitation in library makerspaces. The research will build knowledge about the efficacy of an innovative constructivist PD program with adaptation as a key feature. The data collected in the context of the development of this innovation will provide opportunities for applied research about informal STEM learning in the context of library maker spaces, and the role that library staff play in facilitating this type of learning.