The Effects of Makerspace Learning on the Social Interactions Among Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorder

Gomez, Alvaro
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Students with disabilities benefit from opportunities where skills learned through direct instruction can be practiced and experienced within nontraditional social contexts. Direct instruction methods are important in special education, however one of the challenges with it is that students with disabilities might not gain the understanding to generalize skills across varying contexts (Yuen, Mason, & Gomez, 2014). Strategies based on constructionist principles provide opportunities for students to generalize understanding to new situations. Students with emotional or behavioral disorder significant enough to place them at special education campuses, typically do not have access to these nontraditional opportunities. This study looked at the effect participation in a nontraditional learning lab founded on constructionist principles (a makerspace), had on the social competencies of students with emotional or behavior disorder assigned to a special education campus. The study took place at a South-Texas special education campus that supports students with emotional or behavioral disorders and enlisted the participation of four middle school students with social skill goals in their individualized education plan. Using a single-case experiment with a multielemental design, this study measured the difference between the effects both a makerspace and traditional classroom had on student interactions. Applying a conceptual framework involving constructionist learning theory, this study demonstrated that a social-emotional competency learning lab can support students in building up their social interactions. This study provides empirical evidence for the theory of constructionism as well as testifies to the social validity of using nontraditional educational settings at special education campuses.

This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Constructionism, Emotional or behavioral disorder, Makerspace, Multi-elemental design, Single-case experiment
Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching