Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-5-2023


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology (EdDIT)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Melissa Boston

Committee Member

Sandra Quinones

Committee Member

Jason Ritter


Makerspaces, Constructivist, Constructivism, Independent Schools, FabLabs


Over the past decade, makerspaces have increased in popularity all over the globe (Lou & Peek, 2016) and their addition continues to be a popular trend in the K-12 educational space. In the K-12 environment, the decision to implement a makerspace frequently consists of finding, repurposing, or building a suitable space, and outfitting it with the latest technology trends with the anticipation that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ As a director of a makerspace, my experience is that integrating curriculum across disciplines, or creating pedagogical goals for the makerspace, frequently becomes a priority after the space is designed and the equipment is ordered. This poses a challenge for all stakeholders and accounts for a problem in practice that needs to be addressed. This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological approach inspired by Kurti, Kurti, and Fleming’s (2014) philosophy of educational makerspaces to understand the perspectives and experiences of makerspace leaders at independent schools (9-12). In addition, the study explored what challenges and opportunities directors face when designing, implementing, and managing makerspaces centered around design thinking and learning-by-doing. Data was collected via a demographic survey, interviews, artifacts, and a researcher journal. The data was analyzed using first-cycle codes and coding followed by second-cycle coding with pattern codes (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaña, 2014). The findings from this study will inform the development of a framework for Maker Education in independent schools (9-12) and contribute to the growing body of scholarship about Maker Education in K-12 education. Several themes emerged from the participants: 1) why the makerspace was created; 2) the need for a Community Space; 3) novelty and attraction; 4) student engagement; 5) theory to practice; 6) interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary instruction; and 7) challenges. The data suggested the makerspaces were not created based on any specific pedagogical approach, but rather as a result of student interest in a particular piece of equipment. Additionally, there was a strong interest in providing additional opportunities for students within the makerspace, but several factors prevented its growth. Participants commonly mentioned issues such as scheduling, budget, and competing priorities.