genuinely designing with and for students
I think preparing educators to support youth in these spaces is a challenge because of the tension between the "known" formal education system and the informal education space.
Finding appropriate participant pools to systematically evaluate prototypes that support learning maker skills.
Incorporating the culture and values of all diverse stakeholders in the design of Maker Spaces.
Designing systems that properly fit with the cultural and financial realities of different communities.
the breadth of the field of making - there are many different skills needed ranging from design to controlling the machines to assembly - and it's hard to tackle every single aspect as there are oftentimes multiple valid ways to reach the same goal.
I think one of the biggest challenge is to ensure equitable participation and engagement from underrepresented learners when learning these skills. Often times, underrepresented learners, even though they have access to opportunities like maker space, participate and engage less compared to peers who are white and male. Human instructors and coaches are the best at understanding the nuances behind a learner's lack of engagement and supporting the learner. We really need to think about how can technology support the instructors rather than replace them.
Developing sustained partnerships with schools and other organizations is hard. Educators are in a constant state of crunch. Short-term outreach programs are easy but don't have a significant impact.
Sharing of information from one maker space to another.
Teaching students the concept of a prototype, "looks-like feels-like" to demonstrate an idea.
To find a good balance between the complexity of electronic systems and their simplified and understandable abstractions.
I think collaboration can be a pretty big challenge in this research area since usually there is a disconnect with artists and technology.
Integrating the critical lens into the design
The tools are bad
Convincing people that computation and technology is for them.
The scalability of current methods for teaching hands-on skills is rather limited.
Creating one-size-fits-all solutions for persons who are inexperienced with making. Persons are very individual in their background and suiting maker learning material to the individual is one of the biggest challenges.
Targeting technology to various level of learners. Systems are too often built only for novices in mind.
Society-scale challenges, which are related to engineering education, and how (and to what extent) to embed it into school curricula across different age groups.
Understanding the values needed to be codified in these systems, which again can become a representation issue around whose voices get heard and why to ensure equitable participation.
Quickly changing technology that makes it difficult for pedagogy and capacity to grow alongside tools; balancing cost, power and ease of technology with concerns about privacy, social costs, and learner/designer agency; knowledge, experience and priority differences between designers and researchers and educators in classrooms and community spaces;
age-appropriate user interfaces
In learning making skills, so often it is assumed the maker is an able-bodied person. Making 'making' accessible means addressing all parts of the workflow-- it doesn't matter if the 3D printer gives an accessible output if the CAD software and the trainings to use the 3D printer are inaccessible. We need to better embed accessibility considerations in the technologies used in maker spaces, and we need 'learning' to become accessible.
Showcasing/Illustrating the benefits for all learners, and especially how it can support general academic learning.
I would say accessibility, i.e., how easy it is for one to access such systems that usually require a shop space and expensive equipment. I think it might be increasingly important when we are doing things remotely now. How can we leverage at-home stuff and make things more affordable?
The biggest challenge is the requirement for physical co-presence.
Built in assumptions about abilities