STEM Education, maker education the bridge to startup and innovation

STEM education in general and STEAM in particular are getting more attentions in Vietnam, however, there is still no effective model to excute efficiently at Vietnamese schools. One of the noteworthy trends in the world is to utilize STEM education through Maker Education

Along with makerspace. This article will be introducing the genral trend of STEM education through maker education, the specific benefits on developing skills and how this education plays as a bridge for startup and innovation. 

  1. The education trend through maker education

The attention for STEM Education over the past few years in the world has booosted the development of educational models that are suitable with the features of this field. In which, the noteworthy one is the education maker method. This is a method based on project-based learning and problem-based learning, this method requires participants to coroporate, directly execute, self-coordinate in solving practical and specific problems. 

Education through maker education is affected by the Maker Movement, a term used for independent inventors, designers who gather and create the Do-It-Yourself Products. This trend has also developed strongly in America and Europe for nearly the past 2 decades

Education through Maker Education plays an important part in STEM education nowadays. Today, even though STEM education is highly regared by educators. The teachings of Mathematics, Science, Technology and Engineering are executed as separated subjects. Education through Maker Education is a supplementary approach for teaching traditional subjects, helping students utilize through designing activities, problem solvings that are related to STEM’s fields in order to create specific products. Besides, the Maker Educaion brings a more enthusiastic learning environment. Nowadays, along with STEM education, education through maker activities can also help boost creative thinking, exercise the 21st century’s skills such as communication, coroprating, critical thinking, prolem solving and innovative creativity.

2. Maker space

Along with the maker education is a studying environment that is called the maker space. The Maker Space is an open space, well equiqqed with neccessary tools from basic to advance for individuals or groups to co-work and create their own products. 

Picture 1.Maker Space – Innovation Space at Nguyen Hien Secondary Schools, District 7, HCM city


For schools, the maker space is designed to share the same space with the library, or a separated space. In terms of its function, the maker space is different in comparison with traditional technical rooms such as computer rooms, labs where students can only come when there are activities related to their subjects. The Maker Space is where students can come, use the tools to make or execute indiviual or group projects. 

The equiqment in the Maker Space

The Maker Space usually provides in full the neccessary tools for everyone to use for their making purposes, ranging from basic to advance. Depends on the fields and the target that the Maker Spacer aims to, there may be different equiqment, but there are always basic mechanic tools.

Picture 2. Basic tools

Besides, the Maker Space is also equiqqed with the high-tech devices so students can make models precisely such as 3D printer, Laser Cutter, Arduino and Microbits (autoopen source hardware ARM-based embedded system) or Robots. 

Picture 3. The 3D Printer

The Educational activities in the Maker Space

With the open space, the Maker Space can hold many different learning activities such as maker skills to learn the mindset and thinking of the inventors, digital fabrication to learn how to use technologies such as the 3D printer, laser cutter, coding, learning about basic programming languages, IoT, Robotic…

Besides the specific subjects, the Maker Space is also the place for the schools science and technology clubs, where students can do other activities through projects, individual projects or other creation activities. 

  1. Education by creation activities through STEM

Projects: the projects at the Maker Space is very diverse and covers many fields of STEM in different levels. Choosing and designing the projects depend on the school’s educational approach. Some noteworthy projects are executed in the Maker Space and the fields of STEM are also trained there.

Basic robotics: Lego Wedo, Mindstorm EV3, Make Block Ranger, Ultimate, Robot G-Robot (GaraSTEM) Mathematics, Physics, programming, basic mechanisms…
Advance Robotics: Making Robots, including designing the moving motor, programming and sensors Mathematics, Programming, Electricity & Electric circuit, automatic technology…
Designing projects & producing with the 3D Printer and Laser cutter nformation technology, Geometry, Physics, mechanism
  • Developing the skills with STEM
    • Developing the 21st century skills

The STEM educational activities in the Maker Space has created perfect conditions to develop the 21st century skills for students which has been mentioned the World Economic Forum. 

In which, with STEM educational activities, personal strength and criterias have the opportunity to develop at the Maker Space. Specifically, those are: critical thinking, problem solving, leader skills, communication skills, cooporating, exploring, initiative, decisive, leading and self-consience on culture and education.

  • The Bridge to develop the startup power

Besides the frequent STEM educational activites, the Maker Space also encourage students to make solutions and proudcts to solve the community’s problem that they usually face, or to create a product that the surrounding community needs. For that reason, the Maker Space is the good place to incubate startup ideas right when the students are at a young age.The process in which students complete their products, introduce products, even sell some of their products in the school’s events or campush or in the community bring them many valuable experiences related to startups, develop their entrepreneurial strength. 

In the U.S

In 2016 the American government made the Maker Movement become a neccessary part of STEM education. The National of Makers program was passed with these ideas: (1) 8 federal agencies wil provide financial support, ideas on education, training, building the intellectual network to incubate the Makers community, startup company will support from building the prototypes to mass production (2) 1400 primary, secondary and high schools with ove 1 million students from 50 states will ensure to establish working spaces exclusive for innovative, creative invention.

  • In China:

The Chinese government supports strongly the establishment of Maker Space, which will help boost the creative spirit and innovative startup in China. The Maker Space is an element that helps China transform from low-cost production to developed model based on innovative creation and design, solving the unemployment problems of post-graduate students with the support from the government, the number of Maker Space established in China every increases significantly.

  • In India:

In 2016, the Indian Government passed the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) – the creation and innovation of Atal – to boost the innovative and creative culture of India. One of AIM’s ideas is to equip the Maker Space classrooms (Atal Tinkering Lab – ATL) for every school in India. Each school will be equiqqed with one ATL with the 110 m2 – 140 m2 area, fully provided with neccessary tools and equipment for students. Up to 2018, AIM has installed 5441 ATL rooms for 6 million students. Through ATL, the Indian Government expects to educate “1 million Neoteric Child Innovators in India by 2020)

  • In Malaysia:

Since august of 2016, Digital Economy Corporation Sdn BhD directly under the Malaysian government cooporated with the Malaysian Education Ministry to execute the idea #mydigitalmaker that helps transform Malaysian young people from digital users to makers in the digital age. Through the #mydigitalmaker trend, Malaysia has become the first nation in South East Asia to integrate computational thinking and computer science in the learning curriculumn from grade 1 to grade 9. #mydigitalmaker also builds the standard models to execute parts of the #mydigitalmaker in 20 Malaysian government schools. Beside that, 49 Digital Maker Hubs are also carried out in communities in Malaysia.

  1. Conclusion:

Based on the practical execution of some countries, STEM education through the Maker Space is an acitivity that is stuck with the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem, this is the educational chain that play as a platform, equipping students the 21st century skills, technological knowledge and help them experience the way to design solutions and products that solve our daily lives problems. The projects, products and breakthrough solutions developed from the Maker Space are the resource for the Business Incubator system to develop more. 

Nguyễn Việt Trung – Đỗ Trần Bình Minh (KDI Education)

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