Children and young people in seven municipalities can look forward to exploring and creating in new makerspaces

In the coming years, many thousands of children and young people will have amazing opportunities for hacking, inventing, testing and designing in advanced workshops aimed at boosting their technology literacy and digital skills.

Seven municipalities will now have a unique opportunity to link creative and technological learning through grants from Villum Fonden. With a total grant of DKK 37 million, Herning, Hjørring, Kolding, Randers, Slagelse, Viborg and Ærø Municipalities will establish makerspaces where pupils can explore and use digital technologies to solve real-life problems.

The Makerspace pool is discontinued for the time being

Since 2019, Villum Fonden has offered an annual pool from which municipalities have been able to apply for funds to establish makerspaces – workshops for IT and technology. The idea was to give children and young people the opportunity to use, understand and relate to digital technologies as well as to develop practical skills by working with materials and products.

From 2019-2023, a total of 33 municipalities have received funds for the establishment of makerspaces which are or will become part of the schools’ everyday life in various ways. Each municipality has its own special characteristics and strategies into which the new learning spaces are incorporated.

Villum Fonden has awarded more than DKK 175 million for the development and realisation of makerspaces in a third of the municipalities in Denmark.

Villum Fonden will continue to focus on technology literacy and learning, even though the Makerspace pool will be discontinued for the time being. This will, for example, be done through the future Knowledge Centre for Digital Literacy, which Villum Fonden, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Lundbeck Foundation have supported with a total of DKK 50 million. 

In a makerspace, the pupils will gain hands-on experience with, for example, programming, robots, 3D printing and design processes. The workshops provide opportunities for critical and constructive approaches to technology combined with the children acquiring some practical skills:

"We experience that makerspace teaching environments in schools are driven by an exploratory and creative approach to learning, through which the pupils gain both new skills and knowledge necessary in an increasingly advanced technological world. With the new grants, spaces are created for children and young people to gain basic skills and an in-depth understanding of the influence of technology, so that they not only become tech users, but also tech-literate citizens who can contribute in and to a sustainable digital future", says Jette Hundahl Mikkelsen, Senior Adviser for Villum Fonden’s grant area for children, youth and science.

Future National Knowledge Centre for Digital Literacy

In addition to grants for makerspaces in the municipalities, Villum Fonden has, together with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Lundbeck Foundation, supported a National Knowledge Centre for Digital Literacy with DKK 50 million over the next five years. The knowledge centre will contribute to establishing solid and shared expertise in digital literacy based on Danish school traditions and the latest international experience. The knowledge centre builds on previous experiments and projects. It gathers for the first time the academic environments across Danish universities, university colleges, primary and lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools to establish a holistic Danish approach to digital literacy in primary and lower secondary schools and on the higher general, commercial and technical examination programmes (STX, HHX and HTX).

This year’s seven projects
Herning will use technology and creative thinking to stimulate entrepreneurship and create an actual maker culture

Herning Municipality is strengthening technology literacy and creative thinking among children and young people. The project will be a central part of the municipality’s work to promote technology literacy, the use of digital technologies in all subjects and stimulation of innovative competences and entrepreneurship in all children and young people:

In addition to establishing local maker environments, we really want to create a strong maker culture for all children and young people in the municipality. This requires, among other things, that we succeed in creating open maker environments in which the technologies are visible and accessible, explains Allan Bjørnskov, Head of UngHerning and project manager for the application submitted to Villum Fonden.

The project involves the creation of makerspaces equipped with both digital and analogue technologies in the municipality’s primary and lower secondary schools and 10th grades. In addition, a large central makerspace is planned, which will both function as a competence development centre and build on the local facilities. The central makerspace will be located centrally in the municipality, and will be established by converting existing premises at UngHerning (Youth School in Herning Municipality). The aim is to strengthen the accessibility and scope of the makerspace.

An important aspect of the project is to establish a maker culture and make digital technologies available in special needs education aimed at promoting practical competence and technology literacy.

To ensure and promote the development of a strong municipal maker culture and increase technology literacy throughout the municipality, school leaders, IT counsellors, subject counsellors, teachers and social educators as well as selected pupils will undergo competence development in collaboration with CFU (resource and development centres for primary and lower secondary schools and other educational institutions) and VIA University College Herning.

The project has a broad target group, which includes 24 schools in the municipality, a special needs school and the municipal youth school. Approximately 8,800 pupils from 0-10th grades and special needs classes will benefit from the project, and as many as 30 school leaders, 100 resource persons and counsellors as well as 480 Danish and mathematics teachers will undergo extensive competence development. In addition, 400 pupils will be trained as TECH agents who can support the teachers in the use of maker technologies in classes.

The Children and Learning (Børn og Læring) centre in Herning Municipality is the applicant behind this ambitious project, and the competence boost will be implemented in collaboration with CFU, VIA Herning. Herningsholm Erhvervsskole EUD (Vocational Education programmes) will also collaborate with UngHerning to offer courses for primary and lower secondary school classes with focus on technology.

This project is a step towards creating a stronger, more technologically competent generation and increasing creative thinking among children and young people in Herning Municipality.

Villum Fonden is granting approx. DKK 7 million to the project, which will run over a four-year period from 2024 to 2027.

Creative learning laboratories in Hjørring Municipality

With the ‘Skolen ud i virkeligheden – virkeligheden ind i skolen’ project, Hjørring Municipality wants to transform the schools into creative learning laboratories that interact with the world outside the classroom. The purpose is to provide participation opportunities for all children in the municipality and strengthen technology literacy, problem-based learning, practical competence and innovation. It is an exciting step towards giving children the skills and knowledge they need in an increasingly technology-driven world.

The project will include a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) element and will involve Hjørring Musiske Skole (Hjørring Music & Art School) and Hjørring Municipality's Åbne Skole (Open School). One of the objectives is to strengthen girls’ interest in natural science subjects. 

In the project, a didactic model is developed based on real-life cases, STEAM and sustainability. The model opens up for further collaboration between the schools and local businesses, thus building on an already established collaboration in the municipality’s ‘Ungegaranti’ (Youth guarantee) scheme. 

The project includes all 15 primary and lower secondary schools in the municipality, from 0-10th grades. Hjørring Municipality expects to reach around 5,000 children, train 30 makerspace superusers and offer competence development to 100 teachers and 22 school leaders during the project period.

The expectation is that the project will strengthen and develop the schools and contribute to making the children co-developers of the world in which they will act.

Hjørring Municipality will implement the project in collaboration with University College of Northern Denmark (UCN), Hjørring Music & Art School, the municipality’s Open School facilities and the ‘Makerspace9800’ group. The initiative will not only strengthen the pupils’ education, but also prepare them for future challenges and opportunities.

Villum Fonden is granting approx. DKK 7 million to the project, which will run over a five-year period from 2024 to 2028.

The future is created through technology and education in Kolding Municipality

In recent years, Kolding Municipality has worked with and developed fablab competences at schools in Kolding. The time is now ripe to take new steps in relation to developing technology literacy and practical technological skills and competences in children and young people. 

A key element in the project is to equip the participating primary and lower schools with technology packages that can help establish or expand makerspaces in the schools. This initiative also includes a comprehensive competence boost, where employees are trained both practically and didactically to integrate the makerspace concept in the school’s daily practice. At the same time, networks and knowledge sharing will be established, including a database of teaching courses targeted at 0-9th grades.

The schools would like to conduct competence development courses for two employees at each school and provide additional support for makerspace pupil patrols, ensure equipment for establishing starter or extended makerspace technology packages and network with the upper secondary education programmes.

Kolding Municipality's central makerspace at Pædagogisk Center Kolding plays a crucial role in the project and will facilitate the teaching of employees, which ensures cohesion and quality throughout the project.

The project involves a large target group of approximately 2,000 pupils and 30 teachers at 15 out of 24 primary and lower secondary schools in Kolding Municipality. This initiative will strengthen technology literacy, creative thinking and collaboration among children and young people.

Kolding Municipality is in charge of the project and collaborates with a number of key partners to ensure that it becomes a reality. This is another step towards equipping the municipality’s pupils for a world that requires technological skills and curiosity.

Villum Fonden is granting approx. DKK 1.6 million to the project, which will run over a period of five school years from 2023 to 2028.

Technology literacy and creative thinking must be equally accessible to everyone in Randers Municipality

Randers Municipality’s project focuses on shaping future generations. This initiative is a natural extension of the municipality’s digitalisation strategy and Children and Youth Policy, and it has three central goals.

Firstly, the project is designed to create participation opportunities for all pupils, with special focus on girls, to ensure that technology literacy and creative thinking are equally accessible to all. Secondly, the project wants to motivate the pupils by presenting authentic problems that can engage and inspire them. Finally, the project will promote the pupils’ digital literacy to enable them better to understand and navigate the modern world and the challenges they face.

The project will involve all 21 schools in Randers Municipality, including 19 primary and lower secondary schools and two special needs schools. Around 5,600 pupils are expected to benefit from the project during the project period, and as many as 236 teachers will undergo extensive competence development.

The applicant behind the project is Randers Municipality, and its partner, VIA University College’s Continuing and Further Education and CFU (resource and development centres for primary and lower secondary schools and other educational institutions). The project will ensure broad competence development, the establishment of networks and the creation of local makerspaces in primary and lower secondary schools and special needs schools.

This project aims to provide pupils with technology literacy and creative thinking, which are essential skills for the 21st Century.

Villum Fonden is granting approx. DKK 6.2 million to the project, which will run over a four-year period from 2024 to 2027.

Makerspaces to create educational path in Slagelse Municipality

Slagelse Municipality wants to develop the way in which the municipality’s children and young people are educated. The project aims to establish makerspaces at all 18 schools in the municipality and integrate the makerspace concept in the teaching.

The project has three main objectives:

To build up capacity among the pedagogical staff to ensure that makerspaces and the didactic and pedagogical framework around them become an integral part of the schools’ daily teaching.
To provide the pupils with competences in digital design, design processes and technological empowerment.
To create an educational path towards technical upper secondary schools and vocational education programmes.

The project includes the creation of a central makerspace and satellite makerspaces in all the schools. There will also be workshops and events aimed at promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing between pupils from different institutions.

The target group for the project includes the pedagogical staff, management and pupils in the primary and lower secondary schools in the municipality. Approx. 2,000 pupils will be involved in the project, and around 200 teaching professionals will undergo extensive competence development.

The organisational structure behind the project involves different groups and representatives, including capacity groups at each school, a steering committee with representatives from the schools, the municipality, Zealand Business College (ZBC) and CFU Absalon as well as a working group with teacher representatives and a management group.

The applicant behind the project is Slagelse Municipality, and partners such as University College Absalon, CFU (resource and development centres for primary and lower secondary schools and other educational institutions) and Zealand Business College (ZBC) play crucial roles in the implementation of the project.

This is a step towards a more innovative and technologically competent future for children and young people in Slagelse Municipality.

Villum Fonden is granting DKK 6.97 million to the project, which will run over a period of 4.5 years from 2024 to 2028.

All pupils in Viborg Municipality must develop technology skills

In Viborg Municipality, they are taking an exciting step towards shaping the education of the future for children and young people. With the project, they want to introduce technology and develop technological competences among the municipality’s pupils.

The project builds on previous experience and collaboration with VIA University College CFU (resource and development centres for primary and lower secondary schools and other educational institutions) and aims to link technology and makerspaces closely to local school practices. They will build up capacity among pedagogical staff and school leaders at the intermediate level, while also establishing makerspace areas in all 24 schools in the municipality. The project will be integrated into the municipality’s overall strategy for the School of the Future.

To realise the initiative, they have applied for support for the creation of makerspace areas in all 24 schools, including the special needs schools, as well as a competence boost for school leaders, operational staff and subject teams. In addition, annual knowledge bazaars will be held where school leaders and teachers can meet and share their knowledge. Meebook, the schools’ learning platform, will be used to share information and teaching courses.

The target group of the project includes 5,054 pupils at intermediate level and 24 school leaders, 24 people responsible for the day-to-day operations and 48 subject teams, representing a total of 236 employees with competences in subject-related and technical knowledge, didactic competences and development competences.

Viborg Municipality is implementing the competence boost in collaboration with VIA-CFU (resource and development centres for primary and lower secondary schools and other educational institutions).

For the municipality, the project is a step towards providing the municipality’s children and young people with the necessary skills to tackle the challenges of the future in a technological world.

Villum Fondn is granting approx. DKK 7 million to the project, which will run over a four-year period from 2024 to 2028.

Ærø Municipality joins forces in an exciting technology project

Ærø Municipality wants to gather all levels of education in a joint initiative aimed at strengthening technology literacy and creativity among the municipality’s children and young people. This will be done by focusing on the development of a central makerspace environment. And the starting point is good, because the environment already exists as a grassroots project at Motorfabrikken Marstal, which is owned by Fonden Motorfabrikken Marstal – a non-profit foundation. The three-year makerspace project has the potential to transform the educational landscape and create new opportunities for future generations.

To ensure the success of the project, it will be necessary to employ one and a half FabLab managers, whose main task will be to create optimal conditions for all children and young people to benefit from the makerspace and increase their technology literacy. At the same time, training will be provided for as many as 19 teachers, who will collaborate with the local business sector to create learning courses firmly rooted in the local community.

The project also introduces a pioneer model in which four pioneers from different educational units are trained at FabLab RUC at Roskilde University. These pioneers play an essential role in training and mentoring an additional 15 local teachers as FabLab pilots.

The target group for the project is Ærø’s primary and lower secondary school pupils and no less than 647 children and young people. Initially, the four pioneers will be trained so that they are equipped to provide guidance for and increase technology literacy among local teachers.

The competence development of the pioneers in the project is handled by FabLab RUC, and the project is an example of how collaboration and technology can promote education and innovation.

Villum Fonden is granting approx. DKK 1.4 million to the project, which will run over a three-year period from 2024 to 2026. The municipality is seeking co-financing from other foundations to pay the FabLab manager and assistant for the three years in which the project will run.

Jette Hundahl Mikkelsen
Senior Adviser, VILLUM FONDEN
+45 23 71 68 00
Lise Hammershøj
Communication Advisor, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 20 40 95 06