From north to south: Six municipalities receive funding for makerspaces

Jammerbugt, Favrskov, Svendborg, Odense, Frederikssund and Lolland receive grants totalling DKK 31 million from VILLUM FONDEN to create makerspaces – learning laboratories for design, invention and technology. Pupils, students, teachers and other citizens in the six municipalities can look forward to trying their hand at both the latest state-of-the-art technology and analog crafts – from 3D printers to paint brushes.

More about makerspaces

A makerspace is a school workshop designed so that pupils and students can work with both digital technologies and analog crafts. Here, the pupils and students design and construct things, using everything from laptops to soldering flasks and glue guns.

The makerspaces are established as part of VILLUM FONDEN’s goal that science must be experienced as relevant and inspiring in school and leisure activities – and as a potential career path. Read more under the Children, youth and science funding area.

VILLUM FONDEN has allocated DKK 3 million for an evaluation of how makerspaces can become an integral part of the teaching activities in primary and lower secondary schools. Read more about the evaluation (pdf - in Danish).

Pupils and students as innovation agents, mobile mini-labs and multidisciplinary resource teams – these are some of the ingredients in the six new makerspace projects, two of which are anchored in Jutland, two on Funen and two in Region Zealand. The board of VILLUM FONDEN allocates grants totalling DKK 31.3 million to the Municipalities of Jammerbugt, Favrskov, Svendborg, Odense, Frederikssund and Lolland. A joint feature of the projects is competence development of teachers who are to facilitate courses in which pupils and students work in practical and tangible terms with knowledge of materials, technologies, digital tools etc. to design solutions to problems taken from the real world.

“We want to support children and young people’s formative preparation for the digital and technological world. An important part of working with digital technologies is that you can both see opportunities and have a constructive and critical attitude to existing pitfalls and risks. Makerspaces promote this by given children and young people an opportunity to reach into the toolbox with a curious and playful approach to IT, technology and craftsmanship. In this way, they learn how to use technology creatively and innovatively to develop solutions to the challenges of the future,” says Agi Csonka, head of programme for VILLUM FONDEN’s Children, youth and science funding area.

23 applications have been received for establishment of makerspaces, and the six selected municipalities have very different models for the work. Diversity is a virtue in the selection of municipalities, as it is important that the municipalities’ plans for makerspaces are linked to their school development strategy and that there is coherence between the visions for the use of makerspaces, competence development of teachers and collaboration with relevant local institutions.

New angle on understanding the world

A total of 11 municipalities, distributed widely on the map of Denmark, have now received grants for the establishment of makerspaces. In December 2019, Aabenraa, Aalborg, Gentofte, Greve and Lejre received the first grants.

In the Municipality of Aalborg, 19 schools are currently establishing or extending makerspaces, and 54 makerspace superusers are testing teaching courses. Director of Education Jakob Ryttersgaard from the School Administration underlines that makerspaces are much more than just exciting technology:

“A makerspace is a gym for the brain, where you create things yourself and together with others by experimenting with everything from pipe cleaners to microcomputers. The premises and working method give the pupils and students a new angle on understanding our society, our democracy and other issues that affect our lives and day-to-day existence. Makerspaces are therefore a completely natural path to follow in the primary and lower secondary school system. For we have never been surrounded by more technology, and it has never been more important to understand the world of digitisation in which we must all navigate now and in the future.”

Pupils and students act as innovation agents in Favrskov

The Municipality of Favrskov wants to develop more product-minded and practice-oriented schools through the establishment of makerspaces in seven of its primary and lower secondary schools. Concurrently with the establishment of the physical facilities, a competence training course will be held for the school management, administration, counsellors as well as pupils and students from the schools. Throughout the project period, there will be action learning courses with teachers.

120 pupils and students in the Municipality of Favrskov have already graduated as innovation agents. They will be involved in the project, and more pupils and students will be trained as innovation agents.

VILLUM FONDEN grants approx. DKK 5.6 million to the project in the Municipality of Favrskov. The project runs over 4.5 years and is developed in close collaboration with the management of the seven participating schools. The municipality collaborates with several partners, including Design School Kolding.

MakerWorks in Frederikssund brings pupils, students and businesses together

In Frederikssund, the aim is to establish a solution-focused experimentarium – a MakerWorks – which brings children, young people and the business sector together and creates a connection to crafts, workshop, art and culture. A central MakerWorks will be established in the municipality’s environment for upper secondary education programmes as well as six small local places and three mobile units, which can be moved around the municipality.

The municipality focuses on collaboration across primary and lower secondary schools, upper secondary education programmes and the business sector. Therefore, a central ‘MakerAgent’ will be employed as manager as well as a central technical support, ‘MakerChief’, who will develop education courses for the municipality’s makerspaces based on current issues and in collaboration with upper secondary education programmes, the business sector and primary and lower secondary school teachers.

The project is anchored in the Municipality of Frederikssund, which receives approx. DKK 6.8 million from VILLUM FONDEN for the three-year project. All the municipality’s primary and lower secondary schools have been involved in close collaboration with upper secondary education programmes and after school classes as well as expectedly 35 participating businesses. The municipality is in a dialogue with university colleges on the development and implementation of competence development.

In Jammerbugt, the after school classes will become a technological lighthouse

The Municipality of Jammerbugt wishes to establish makerspaces at the municipality’s 12 schools and set up an after school class-based mobile makerspace. The goal is that makerspaces are to be integrated in the teaching in all subjects and at all grades. Makerspaces must be a particularly active part of the teaching in the municipality’s special-needs classes, which are located in five of the municipality’s schools. Makerspaces will play a vital part in the teaching of special-needs pupils. Here there will be an exploration of the didactical opportunities that technological understanding and practical activities offer for children with special needs.

The after school classes will have a central role in the project as a technological beacon that acts as motivator, instigator and catalyst for new initiatives, technologies and tools. To take into account the municipality’s geography, the after school classes will establish a mobile makerspace that reaches all parts of the municipality.  

The Municipality of Jammerbugt receives approx. DKK 6.3 million from VILLUM FONDEN for the project. The project is developed in close collaboration with the after school classes and runs over a three-year period.

Lolland gets makerspace powerhouses

The municipality will establish four makerspace powerhouses and three mini-makerspaces in primary and lower secondary schools. The powerhouses will be used by library, schools, after school classes and upper secondary education programmes and will be accessible to pupils, students, citizens and volunteers.

A team of volunteer employees across the schools will receive competence development in how to use the facilities. A resource team will be established at each school, and there will be a resource network and a management network across the schools.

VILLUM FONDEN grants approx. DKK 5.6 million to the Municipality of Lolland over five years. The municipality manages the project in collaboration with University College Absalon, which handles the professional and educational part. The project has been created through a joint generation of ideas between the primary and lower secondary schools, the after school classes and the library.

In Odense, makerspaces are to support investment in robotics

With the grant, the Municipality of Odense will build on its multi-year strategic investment in robotics. The municipality will develop five makerspaces and establish a mobile makerspace. The schools have long worked systematically with new technologies at different class levels. The project is particularly targeted at fifth graders learning to design and work in a problem-solving manner with the new technologies through mandatory courses, but other grades and after school classes are also expected to use the new makerspaces.

The focus will be on developing a teaching practice in which pupils and students work with problems taken from the real world. The pupils and students will use learning technologies and design processes that support their development of science capital and 21st Century competences – thus continuing Odense’s vision of being ‘The World’s Best Robot City’.

VILLUM FONDEN grants approx. DKK 5 million to the project, which runs over four years. The project is anchored in the Child and Youth Administration in the Municipality of Odense. In addition, the after school classes, UCL, SDE College and the libraries participate in the project steering committee.

Svendborg gets central makerspace and 11 mini-makerspaces

The Municipality of Svendborg will establish a large central makerspace at the municipality’s lower secondary school with pupils from 7th to 10th grades and 11 mini-makerspaces at the other schools. Teaching courses will be held at all the schools combined with visits to the central makerspace.

The municipality’s schools have been part of the project ‘Engineering i Skolen’ (Engineering in Schools), where teachers and managers have been trained. These competences will now be brought into play in the new makerspaces. Three so-called pioneers will be trained, and they will subsequently train at least one makerspace pilot at each of the other schools.

VILLUM FONDEN grants approx. DKK 2 million to the project, which runs over three school years. The project will be run by the Municipality of Svendborg, which collaborates with schools offering the Higher Technical Examination Programme (HTX) and other local upper secondary education programmes, where students from the upper secondary education programmes teach pupils from primary and lower secondary schools. There will be a collaboration with local entrepreneurs and the business sector through the Future Factory and with Fablab Vejle on competence development and training of pioneers.

Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55