Guitars and Makerspace: Examining the Experience of First Nations Students | Guitares et laboratoires ouverts : examen de l’expérience d’élèves des Premières Nations


  • Jay R Wilson University of Saskatchewan
  • Marc Gobeil



makerspace, indigenizing, course design, technology,


This research project examined the impact on student engagement of a makerspace approach in an all-First Nations high school. First Nations learners have many factors limiting their success in the K-12 system such as lack of connection to the curriculum, limited cultural relevance of course content, and poor attendance. A common concern for those working with First Nations students is how to deliver a learning experience that is engaging and assists students in earning enough credits to graduate. In this case study, a makerspace approach to learning was used to engage and support learners. A makerspace is a learning context where participants are supported and encouraged to design and create as part of required learning, to meet curricular objectives, or to creatively explore their own ideas. The program at the focus of this research introduced students to 3D computer design technology and (computer numerical control) CNC wood milling technology to make electric guitars. This project used a case study design to determine ways to improve the school experience of First Nations students through unique course design. The findings show that the experience for students was positive, engagement increased, and attendance showed improvement.

Ce projet de recherche s’est penché sur l’incidence d’une approche « Makerspace » (laboratoire ouvert) sur l’engagement des élèves dans une école secondaire fréquentée uniquement par des membres des Premières Nations. Plusieurs facteurs limitent la réussite des apprenants des Premières Nations dans le système scolaire de la maternelle à la 12e année, comme un manque de connexion au programme, la pertinence limitée du contenu des cours et un haut taux d’absentéisme. Les personnes qui travaillent auprès des élèves issus des Premières Nations ont comme préoccupation commune l’offre d’une expérience d’apprentissage qui engage les élèves et les aide à obtenir suffisamment de crédits pour obtenir leur diplôme. Dans cette étude de cas, une approche de laboratoire ouvert a été utilisée pour faire participer les apprenants et les appuyer. Un laboratoire ouvert est un contexte d’apprentissage dans lequel les participants sont soutenus et encouragés à concevoir et à créer, que ce soit en vue de l’apprentissage requis, pour atteindre des objectifs du programme ou pour explorer avec créativité leurs propres idées. Le programme au cœur de cette étude a fait connaître aux élèves la technologie informatique de conception en 3D et la technologie de fraisage du bois par CNC (commande numérique par ordinateur) pour fabriquer des guitares électriques. Ce projet a utilisé une conception d’étude de cas afin de déterminer des façons d’améliorer l’expérience scolaire des élèves des Premières Nations par l’entremise d’une conception de cours unique. Les conclusions démontrent que l’expérience a été positive pour les élèves, que leur engagement a augmenté et que leur taux de présence s’est amélioré.

Author Biographies

Jay R Wilson, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Professor
Department Head
Department of Curriculum Studies 
University of Saskatchewan

Marc Gobeil

Marc Gobeil is a Practical and Applied Arts Teacher with the GSCS school division and Lecturer in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. His research interests include expanding the impact of the traditional Practical Arts with technology and re-imagining the way teachers look at practical education.


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