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Activating Digital Makerspaces for Authentic Student Learning

Whitewolf, Elizabeth (2023) Activating Digital Makerspaces for Authentic Student Learning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In response to the maker movement, administrators are adding 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and other computer-controlled machinery into school-based makerspaces at a rapid rate. These digital fabrication tools can potentially engage students in hands-on learning across all subject areas. However, adding these extra tools into schools doesn’t always lead to the adoption of these digital fabrication tools into the school curriculum. New technologies are often used as novelty experiences or elective-based, stand-alone maker classes. Still, the tools themselves can catalyze innovative learning if integrated into subjects outside of the isolated “technology” or “STEAM” courses. In this improvement science study, four teachers participated in an intervention centering the TPACK framework of teacher knowledge, which included virtual working sessions to develop lesson plans integrating these tools into classroom learning. Participants reported increased confidence with the tools. However, there were mixed levels of confidence in using these tools with students. Attention to embedded practice, professional learning communities, and technology integration and pedagogy knowledge show promise for supporting teachers new to this technology toolset.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Whitewolf, ElizabethELW95@PITT.EDUelw95
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQuigley, Cassiecquigley@pitt.educquigley
Committee MemberTrahan, Keithkwt2@pitt.edukwt2
Committee MemberWardrip,
Date: 11 January 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 November 2022
Approval Date: 11 January 2023
Submission Date: 23 November 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 121
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: makerspace, digital fabrication, STEM learning, school-based making, 3D printer, laser cutter, digital making, educational technologies, teacher support, teacher learning
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2023 19:06
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2023 19:06


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