A Behavioral Phenomenological Inquiry of Maker Identity

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Abstract

Currently, researchers and educators are dedicating substantive energy to investigating and discussing the potential affordances of makerspaces to support students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. In particular, proponents indicate that broadening participation with makerspaces and the maker movement may increase participation by underrepresented demographic groups in STEM fields. However, many questions have arisen as to whether, how, and to what extent makerspaces are supporting participation by students underrepresented in STEM fields. This study presents an initial investigation of makerspace participation by middle school age girls in a central Texas makerspace. Specifically, this study takes a closer look at students’ verbal behaviors when explaining their participation and interest in the makerspace activities as well as the connections to students’ previous interactional histories that are both directly and indirectly evidenced. Analyses of participant interviews suggest potential benefits to identifying and purposefully facilitating relational frames that could potentially induce greater interest and concomitant participation with formal and informal STEM related content.

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