From First Glance to Lasting Change

Introducing the Virtual Makerspace


Welcome to the Virtual Makerspace, a digital platform developed by the Equity in the Making (EiTM) Lab. This interactive resource is accessible on your computer or through a VR headset (i.e. HTC Vive or Oculus).

Four different areas of the Virtual Makerspace

From top left to bottom right: threshold, power tools room, sewing area, display case and staff wall


This resource is open access. The Virtual Makerspace is a generative tool to gain user reactions and feedback on a makerspace. We invite you to use it for learning, research, and community building purposes, for example. Here are five methods practitioners and researchers can implement using the Virtual Makerspace.


  1. Run a Tiny Cafe for Rapid Feedback
  2. Think-Aloud Reporting for a Participatory Observation
  3. Survey of Statements for Quantifying Experience
  4. Articulating Experiences with One Word Descriptions
  5. Power Analysis to Unveil Participant-Makerspace Dynamics


We believe that the Virtual Makerspace can be a helpful resource for educators and researchers who are looking to foster community-centered learning experiences based on direct user feedback.


Dr. Maggie Melo, who has spent nearly a decade working in a makerspace, became intrigued by the experiences of underrepresented students in university makerspaces. She observed a recurring pattern where students would approach the makerspace threshold, peer inside, and quickly retreat without entering. This phenomenon led Dr. Melo to wonder: “What causes students to shy away from makerspaces at the very threshold?” Her particular focus was on understanding the initial impressions and instinctive reactions that newcomers encounter when visiting a makerspace for the first time. 


This work is being funded by the National Science Foundation (#1942930): “Equity in the Making: Investigating Spatial Arrangements of Makerspaces and Their Impact on Diverse User Populations.” The publication “Description framework of makerspaces: Examining the relationship between spatial arrangement and diverse user populations” outlines the research findings thus far.