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Title: Academic makerspaces as a “design journey”: developing a learning model for how women students tap into their “toolbox of design”
Abstract An academic makerspace, home to tools and people dedicated to facilitating and inspiring a making culture, is characterized by openness, creativity, learning, design, and community. This nontraditional learning environment has found an immense increase in popularity and investment in the last decade. Further, makerspaces have been shown to be highly gendered, privileging men's and masculine understandings of making. The spike in popularity warrants deeper analysis, examining the value of these spaces for women and if learning is occurring in these spaces, specifically at higher education institutions. We implemented a phenomenologically based interviewing process to capture the making experiences of 20 women students, recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. By eliciting the narratives of women students, we captured how making, designing, and creating evolved through gendered experiences in the university makerspace. Each interview was transcribed and resulted in around 868 pages of single-spaced text transcriptions. The data were analyzed through multiple cycles of open and axial coding for common themes and patterns, where makerspaces create a culture of learning, facilitate students’ design journey, and form a laboratory for creativity. These themes forwarded the creation of a learning model that showcases how design and learning interact in the makerspace. This work more » demonstrates that women students are engaging learning and inspiration; developing confidence and resilience; and learning how to work with others and collaborate. « less
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
363 to 373
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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