Posted by: Richard Schwier | July 19, 2016

IJDL Call for 2017 Special Issue on Makerspace Design Cases




According to the New Media Consortium, makerspaces are
ìinformal workshop environments located in community
facilities or education institutions where people gather to create
prototypes or products in a collaborative, do-it-yourself setting.î
The NMC Horizon Reports for K-12 Education and for Higher
Education have listed makerspaces as ìimportant developmentsî
for the last 2-3 years (2014-2016). Also referred to as hackerspaces,
hack labs, and fab labs, these community-oriented spaces
provide tools and resources for innovators to carry out their ideas.
Makerspaces have quickly risen to the forefront in the educational
conversations, and many community organizations, schools, and
institutions of higher education have created makerspaces in
their facilities and campuses. Additionally, many are on the verge
of developing a makerspace for their organization. While lists of
equipment and supplies for makerspaces are readily available to
those seeking to develop a makerspace, resources documenting
the design of a makerspace, the philosophy that informed the
design, or the programs implemented within a makerspace are
considerably less plentiful. This special issue of makerspace design
cases is intended to fill that void. Design cases do not present the
findings of research; instead they express a form of knowledge-
building regarding design, as detailed below.

Recognizing that a makerspace can be as unique as the
organization that creates it, we invite design cases on
makerspaces in community, K-12, and university settings. Given
that the spirit of the maker movement is to organically support
new ways of thinking and problem solving through hands-on
design, construction, and iteration, makerspaces in all their variety
are spaces designed for various learning or thinking moves to
occur. Thus, manuscripts should chronicle the learning intended
to take place in the designed makerspace, rather than solely the
design of the makerspace itself. Design cases should share the
design thinking that went into the design of the space, including
the successes and failures of the design in supporting learning
by making. The following are some examples of design cases on

–Design of a makerspace, including the philosophy that
drove the design: The makerspaces that support Stanford
d.schoolís Design Thinking and Harvardís ìAgency by Designî
project differ philosophically from STEM labs and fab labs,
which may also differ from spaces that could be called
hackerspaces or hack labs. All of these spaces differ from
the traditional ìshopî spaces, in which making occurred,
but the focus was developing skills in woodworking or
crafting metal, rather than designing solutions to complex
interrelated problems.
–Makerspaces designed to support specific kinds of
thinking and learning: A variety of learning theories
underpin learning by making and/or learning by designing
(constructionism, constructivism, etc.). Nevertheless,
decisions made in the design of a space will support or
lead to different kinds of making and thus learning. Some
makerspaces are designed to broadly support creativity
and innovation; others are more narrowly focused on
computational thinking and problem solving.
–Designs for learning in makerspaces or makerspace-
based learning design: Cases chronicling the design of
learning activities within a makerspace or cases exploring
the unique philosophy of learning through apprenticeship
models, just-in-time learning, and informal self-directed
–Iterative process of design of and in makerspaces: The
design of makerspaces and the programs implemented in
them typically follow iterative processes. Cases that highlight
this iterative process where the maker mindset informed
the design of the space and/or program(s) for the space,
including how they evolved over time with subsequent
–Other aspects of makerspaces: how design happens, how
constraints come into play, design collaboration, tinkering,
designing for the youngest makers, etc.



5000-7000+ words, with as many multimedia and/or visual
elements as available. The goal of this submission is equally
to explain the experience of the design, visually and textually,
and to explain how it came to be the way that it is. Authors are
invited to submit design cases for experiences or materials they
have created themselves. However, the descriptive case can
come through interviews with designers, stakeholders, and/
or users, analysis of related artifacts surrounding the design/
design process, or reconstruction based on previously published
marketing and/ or academic materials. Your abstract should
include the targeted design, its relevance, and any resources you
will need to locate.


500-1500 words, a primarily visual presentation of a design with
accompanying text used to annotate and explain the artifact
and its experience as depicted in the images and/or video. Your
abstract should include the targeted design, and any existing
resources that you are aware of.


October 3, 2016 Submit full paper / brief paper

March 31, 2017 Final manuscripts

May 31, 2017 Projected publication



A design case is a description of a real artifact or experience
that has been intentionally designed, and offers an in-depth
explanation of the rationale for the design, including how that
design came to be the way that it is. Transparency of the design
process through detailed description is important such that the
reader can deeply understand and empathize with the unique
design situation. Detailed description of the asks and responds to
questions such as:

–What key decisions were made?
–At what points in the process did these decisions arise?
–Who was involved in the making of these decisions?
–What was the rationale or reasoning behind these decisions?
–How were key design decisions judged to be useful or not?
–What key changes were made during the design process?
For a fuller description of design cases and their contribution to
design knowledge, see:

Boling, E. (2010). The need for design cases: Disseminating design
knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning 1(1). http://

Smith, K. (2010). Producing the rigorous design case. International
Journal of Designs for Learning 1(1).

Howard, C. (2011). Writing and rewriting the instructional design
case: A view from two sides. International Journal of Designs for
Learning 2(1).


Author Guidelines are available at

Articles should be submitted using the article template available

Questions should be sent to Drs. Mary Jo Dondlinger (, Julie McLeod (
com), and Chris Bigenho (

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