MakEY: Makerspaces in the early years
Digital literacy and creative skills of young children will be developed through participation in creative activities in specially-designed spaces termed ‘makerspaces’.
About the project
This project aims to further knowledge of the way in which early years settings and non-formal learning spaces can offer meaningful digital experiences that develop children’s digital literacy and creative knowledge and skills.
The emphasis is on digital makerspaces, spaces in which young children can use a range of digital technologies, in addition to non-digital tools and hardware, to create new artefacts and also to reconstruct exisiting artefacts – thus, making, hacking and tinkering.
The project explores the potential of makerspaces for the development of young children’s digital literacy learning and for enhancing children’s creativity and creative design skills.
The project has four key objectives:
- Conduct a comprehensive review of the role of makerspaces in the formal and non-formal educational experiences of children and young people.
- Undertake empirical research to determine how makerspaces can foster the digital literacy and creativity skills and knowledge of young children.
- Develop a conceptual framework for analysing young children’s engagement in makerspaces.
- Make recommendations for policy and practice that will foster innovation and entrepreneurship in SME makerspaces and facilitate the use of makerspaces for enhancing digital literacy in early childhood educational institutions and non-formal learning spaces such as libraries and museums.
The project runs from January 2017 until December 2018.
The project will involve the development of interdisciplinary knowledge. The project team involves academics who work within a range of disciplines and fields of study: Computer Science, Education, Language and Literacy Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Psychology and Sociology.
Phase 1 Capacity building, development of theoretical framework
Researchers from academic institutions will undertake secondments with industrial partners or non-EU academic partners in order to develop their understanding of the field. The group will collaborate on the development of a literature review of children and young people’s engagement in makerspaces and on questions for online surveys.
Phase 2 Development of theoretical framework and preparation for data collection
Further development of the theoretical framework. Participants will engage in exchanges in order to discuss and debate the key theoretical concepts that will inform the analysis. An initial analytic framework will be developed.
Phase 3 Data collection and data analysis
This phase will involve the undertaking of case studies of makerspace workshops in in seven EU countries.