Innovative digital solutions to assess 21st century skills in makerspaces

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As the maker movement is increasingly adopted into K‐12 schools and nonformal makerspaces, students have more opportunities to generate unique, personalized projects and artifacts, such as computer programs, robots, DIY electronics and to develop new competencies and skills. Digital making technologies if coupled with proper learning methodologies can provide learning experiences that promote young people’s creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills, the essential skills necessary in the workplace of the 21st century (21st C Skills).

However, assessment of these higher order skills is not easy, particularly within these open-ended environments where students create unique solution paths to problems, interact with peers, and act in both the physical and digital worlds. Currently, digital technologies offer novel methods and solutions to assess the 21st century skills and offer insights to learners’ efforts and achievements that become available for both learners and researchers. 

Thus, the goal of this project is to provide, pilot and validate novel assessment methods and tools intended to use for the assessment of 21st century skills. The assessment solutions will be piloted in different learning contexts but focused on makerspaces. Participants will be drawn from the 4 partner countries (Ireland, Greece, Sweden and Cyprus) and will be secondary school teachers, nonformal educators and facilitators and students/learners (aged 12-18 years) who use makerspaces.

Expected outputs: 

  • A digital solution to assess 21st century skills for teachers and students 
  • Open Educational Resources to help teachers and students to implement the solution available via the project website. 
  • An evaluation report on findings and results from the implementation of the assessment solution in pilots with teachers and students 

Key activities include: 

  • Design of the digital assessment solution, specific to the needs of makerspaces 
  • Development of the digital solution 
  •  Development of educational resources to help/guide teachers and students in using the digital assessment tool 
  • Training course for teachers & educators 
  • Pilots in makerspaces currently located in Schools and in nonformal makerspaces who engage with School groups 
  • Evaluation  
  • Dissemination events 

The project is expected to promote more effective learning in these makerspaces by enhancing the understanding of learners, their needs and the impact of learning interventions. The assessment methods are expected to improve the scalability of the maker movement in education since they may not only reveal students’ skills developed throughout specific learning activities, but they could also help researchers and teachers/educators design better curricula, pedagogical approaches, and learning resources for makerspaces in schools and nonformal centres.