Create, explore, invent ... the makerspace at the service of the community

We discuss the maker approach and social innovation with Ann-Louise Davidson, professor in educational technologies and holder of the research chair in maker culture at Concordia University.

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We discuss the maker approach and social innovation with Ann-Louise Davidson, professor in educational technologies and holder of the research chair in maker culture at Concordia University.

In search of social innovation, Ann-Louise took an interest in what was happening in the community, in informal places. By discovering makerspace, she understood that these spaces which aim to manufacture with her hands, to engage in an activity that involves current objects, met a need for education. After several experiments, Ann-Louise came to create an ecosystem comprising various entry points and allowing people from various backgrounds to flourish in the maker approach.

"Access to information is a paradigm shift that shakes up the role of the teacher" - Ann-Louise Davidson

Ann-Louise's main interest lies in the creation of communities around the maker approach. She wants to make makerspace live so that everyone - parents, grandparents, neighbors - feels that this space belongs to them.

Examples of makerspace in the community

In this interview, Ann-Louise presents two initiatives carried out in community contexts:

The first is the Milieumake, a makerspace created within the largest research-creation center in Quebec (Milieux institute) aimed at creating bridges between academic space and community space as well as fostering dialogue around common issues.

The second initiative is the makerspace of the Kent chalet, a youth center located in the Côte-des-Neiges district. Developing the power of action of young people, this space was created from the social fabric and makes it possible to carry out a host of entrepreneurial projects while promoting the feeling of belonging of young people and adults.

What about the school sector?

Ann-Louise does not believe that every school should have a makerspace since this requires a lot of resources and maintenance. In his eyes, the ideal would be to rearrange teaching time in order to open up third moments, halfway between teaching and recreation, during which people from the educational community could offer time and expertise, thus contributing to the education of young people. And this regardless of the techno-educational trend of the moment (virtual reality, artificial intelligence, makerspace).

Finally, Ann-Louise stresses that technologies and societal needs change rapidly and that it is important to foster links between the school and the community and to allow young people to reflect on what is happening in the world.

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.