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Can young children design and invent solutions to real-life problems?

Dr Matt Bower of Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies seems to think so. His research report Makerspaces in Primary School Settings shows that even kindergarten-aged students are capable of innovative design solutions when given tailored instruction and access to contemporary technologies.

Set up in the school classroom, makerspaces – areas where kids can get creative with science and technology – are growing in popularity. “They allow students the chance to develop 21st century skills and STEM capabilities, while encouraging a growth mindset that is resilient to failure,” says Dr Bower.

In addition to making use of traditional physical materials such as wood, metal, paper and electronics, Dr Bower’s research shows that schools embracing a range of digital technologies to support a classroom makerspace, including 3D design software and 3D printers, encourage real-world innovation.

“These 3D technologies are revolutionising a range of industries including architecture, engineering and medicine, so teaching children 3D design capabilities from an early age sets them up for success in an increasingly technological future,” he says.

Click here to read Abstract and Executive Summary of this research report.

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