What is project Makerbox?
Project Makerbox, is an online tool for organizing and running small practical problem-solving workshops. The target audience is children in upper secondary school, ungdomsskolen, but it is possible to scale the platform to include both older and younger children.
The tool itself is a website that contains an openly accessible library of problem-solving tasks you can combine into workshops, typically consisting of 3-4 tasks. Your group of young “Makers” then log into the workshop you, the “Guide”, have created and solve the problems given. Materials and tools used in these tasks are supposed to be in the category “office supplies”, including old soda bottles, bamboo skewers etc.
Current status of project Makerbox
During the summer of 2017, two students, Sigmund Holm (computer science) and Tobias Wulvik (product design), from NTNU have been hard at work turning the concept of project Makerbox into a reality. They have built a brand new website, good looking and easy to use. At this point, we are approaching a functional prototype of the website. Meaning that we will be able to start testing the platform in schools, possibly also in other organizations.
The first tests will be done in collaboration with Rosenborg Ungdomsskole. We will also be presenting a paper at ICED17 (International Conferende of Engineering Design) in Vancouver this August which presents the concept of Makerbox. Sigmund and Tobias has been engaged as web-developers as their summer job, financed by SFU-Engage.
Where does Makerbox come from?
The idea which started project Makerbox came during discussions just before Christmas in 2015. Kristoffer Slåttsveens PhD project is focused on educational perspectives based on or inspired from design engineering methods. “Can we come up with a good project for TMM4245Fuzzy Front End which is valuable for this PhD project?”. The question we wanted to answer, was: Can we come up with a set of tasks that can spark the “maker experience” in children. And can we make this in such a way that all you need is contained in a box? Hence, the project name “Makerbox”.
During the spring semester of 2016, students Truls Nygaard and Georgina Seviour developed this idea into the web-platform concept that is being turned into reality as you read this text. The underlying intention and value of sparking this “maker experience”, is that we believe this community has an extraordinary ability to motivate and help train people’s creative-confidence, a term derived from Banduras “Self-Efficacy”. Creative-confidence, is seen by many as relevant in the domains of creative jobs such as product development, industrial~ and product design, architecture, entrepreneurship etc. Behind the scenes of our website, data on how the various “Makers” progress and increase their creative self-efficacy is gathered. Data such as; how long it takes to solve a task, tasks of which categories have been solved, how often hints are used, etc, can be used to research the effect of how practical problem-solving can be used as an educational tool for training the entrepreneurial mindset.