Makerspaces in the early years

Lecture by Jackie Marsh, Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK

The DigiChild Network is pleased to present an open lecture by Professor Jackie Marsh titled Makerspaces in the early years: Opportunities (and challenges) for developing characteristics of effective learning

In this presentation, Jackie will draw on research conducted as part of an EU-funded project, 'Makerspaces in the early years' (MakEY), which aims to explore the potential value that makerspaces can have for children's digital literacies and creativity, in addition to their contribution to STEM education. At the University of Sheffield, they have undertaken research on makerspaces in early years settings and schools, libraries and a community centre. The presentation will draw on data from a number of these projects in order to explore the ways in which engagement in makerspaces can develop the 'Characteristics of Effective Learning' (CoEL) which are embedded in England's early years curriculum. CoEL includes skills and dispositions across three areas - playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. It is argued that makerspaces can provide valuable opportunities to foster CoEL, but that there are also a number of challenges to this work, which include practitioners' subject knowledge and confidence, and institutional barriers to such provision. The implications of this analysis for policy and practice will be explored.

Jackie Marsh is Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jackie has led numerous research projects engaging children, teachers, parents and children’s media industry partners in research on young children’s play and digital literacy practices in homes and schools (e.g. the ESRC-funded project ‘Technology and Play’). Jackie is Chair of COST Action IS1410, DigiLitEY, a European network of 35 countries focusing on research in this area (2015-2019). She is currently leading a 7-country project on makerspaces in the early years, MakEY (2017-2019) funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Jackie has published widely in the field, and is a co-editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

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