Unleashing the Learners: Teacher Self-Efficacy in Facilitating School-Based Makerspaces





This qualitative research project explored the key characteristics, attitudes, and experiences of makerspace facilitators in Saskatchewan. The aim was to gather knowledge and wisdom from early adopters of makerspace from a variety of contexts ranging from tinkerspaces to increasingly popular school-based spaces in order to inform early and career-educators of the skills and attitudes conducive to creating and leading dynamic activity spaces. The questions for the semi-structured interviews were based on Bandura’s (1977; 1997) self-efficacy expectations: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. The findings align with those of other studies in that they point towards key areas of experience: the value of productive failure, relinquishing control, and modes of support. We conclude that there is a need to help preservice and early career educators to become prepared and confident makerspace facilitators. To this end, we offer four suggestions for new makerspace facilitators: aim towards unleashing, allow others to be the experts and leaders, celebrate success and failure, and  openly seek and offer support.

Keywords: makerspace, self-efficacy, motivation, early career educators, productive failure

Author Biographies

Marguerite Koole, University of Saskatchewan

In 2013, Dr. Koole completed her PhD in E-Research and Technology-Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University UK. Her thesis is entitled “Identity Positioning of Doctoral Students in Networked Learning Environments”. She also holds a Masters of Education in Distance Education (MEd) through the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. Her focus was on mobile learning.

Dr. Koole has a BA in Modern Languages and has studied French, Spanish, German, Blackfoot, Cree, Latin, Mandarin, ancient Mayan hieroglyphics, and linguistics. Her interests in languages led her to teaching. She has taught English as a Second Language (ESL), English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and university-level writing at the University of Lethbridge, Athabasca University, private schools in Canada, and a private school in Spain.

While teaching at the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Koole became interested in designing online educational resources. She completed a college diploma in Multimedia Production with training in web development, audio, video, animation, 3D animation, marketing, and business.

Dr. Koole has worked in online and distance education for over 15 years. Through the years, she has been involved in teaching, instructional design, multimedia programming, content management, e-portfolios, and social software. She has designed interactive, online learning activities for various learning purposes and platforms—including print, web, and mobile devices.

Jay Wilson, University of Saskatchewan

Professor Jay Wilson is Head of the Department of Curriculum Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. His program of research centers on innovative learning design, online teaching and learning, and experiential learning assessment. Dr. Wilson works to support the understanding and growth of pre-service and in-service teachers and professors through his service and scholarship.

He teaches in the areas of high school curriculum, assessment, program evaluation, technology and multimedia, and video production. Jay’s teaching has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally in many ways including the 2017 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the University of Saskatchewan Master Teacher Award (2015), the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education D2L Innovation Award (2012), University of Saskatchewan’s Outstanding New Teacher Award (2010), and as an Apple Distinguished Educator (2011). 

He is currently the acting head of Educational Administration and Educational Foundations. He serves the University of Saskatchewan broadly as the current chair of University Council.