The maker mindset

Publication Date March, 03 2021

The creative space ‘Makerspace’ assists with new teaching approaches and provides a space where students can gain their practical experience by working on theoretical concepts they learn at school. This has been enabled through the USAID funded “After School Support for Teens” – ASSET Program. In 16 gymnasia of Kosovo, students, in cooperation with the school team, the community and the Program team, engaged in turning the unused space into a creative space, which was supplied with appropriate inventory, materials and technology for creative work.

‘Makerspace’ creative spaces, since their establishment, in 2018 and 2019, helped students do research, understand and find creative methods to realize their different projects. In order for schools to create a mechanism for the operation and maintenance of technological equipment, the Program worked on establishing Technicians Clubs. These Clubs are composed of students and led by mentors – teachers of Life and Work field. In addition to the training on the use of technological equipment provided by the Program, each Technicians Club prepared a work plan. Thus, the creative space has been transformed into a very entertaining environment and a different environment from the standard teaching in classrooms.

The positive impact of the Technicians Club on students

Opportunities to coordinate the activities with other friends within the school motivated students to get together in the Technicians Clubs. The program has provided a variety of technological equipment and necessary tools to enable students participate in practical creative projects in science, technology, mathematics, art and music. Regarding the commitment to the Club, Leart Daomi, a student of Xhevdet Doda Gymnasium says: Technicians Club is a challenge itself in learning about new technological programs that we do not have the opportunity to learn about every day. This reveals new interests in this field and pushes further the work in groups which increases our creativity and projects efficiency. Therefore, Makerspace is the platform that facilitates the development of creative thinking skills.

Motivation and responsibility of the Clubs’ mentors

Mentors play an important role in the well-functioning of the Club. They have willingly conducted trainings on the use of equipment in ‘Makerspace’ and assisted students with their use during classes. The Clubs’ mentors are distinguished for their motivation to assist students in finding solutions and exploring their creative mind. This is what Njomza Selimi, a mentor in the Technicians Club in “Xhevdet Doda” Gymnasium in Prishtina says: “The Technicians Club and the creative space is the initiative that completes the proper education cycle, highlights the practical learning developed through communication skills, accompaniment, team work, thus assisting in increased personal skills and critical thinking as well as in learning how to be creative while being highly motivated. I consider that every educational system needs such creative spaces”.

Mentor Njomza Selimi together with the student Leart Damoni working on the creative space “Makerspace” in “Xhevdet Doda” Gymnasium in Prishtina – 2021.

The Club activities

Some of the Club’s activities include: maintenance of technological equipment in ‘Makerspace’, supporting teachers on the use of equipment, provision of different trainings for their peers and teachers, identifying activities for ‘Makerspace’, identifying the use of equipment and managing their use (as per the online or physical format determined by the Program). In case of distance learning, schools organize different activities with students through online platforms. Also, he/she ensures that the school’s ‘Makerspace’ is well managed and used by all interested people in school for curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Cylinder created by a 3D printer, which has been provided by the After School Support to Teens – ASSET Program