I’ve spent the past few days talking about MakerSpaces and Maker Culture, but have yet to really explain what it is. Hopefully my post explain it well enough, but consider this post as a primer and a few resources.
April 28th – Maker Culture
Education changes based on popular trends and needs. When I was in high school, I found myself with gym everyday, classes that challenged me to think and only the AP exams to really worry about. These days, gym (along with music, art, and the performing arts) are disappearing because you can’t always accurately measure those – classes are geared towards state test and teachers teach to those test because it’s the only thing that we can be measured on for our jobs.
With this shift we now value book smarts over street smarts. We value writers over tinkerers and readers over engineers. Of course I’m never going to say that we should value one over the other, but why does anyone get the backseat. Maker Culture looks to even the odds and give back to those students that struggle to write a 10 page paper, but can tinker and create something really amazing that represents their feelings and opinions as well as a 10 page paper. In my former school I saw students slip through the cracks everyday, they could edit a film, code a iPhone app or build a steering column out of Legos during lunch, but couldn’t focus long enough to write a paper. I spent some time working with teachers to have them create a documentary or interactive project to express their views, and the teachers agreed – but why is that needed in the first place?
Maker celebrates those that choose to work with their hands AND their heads. Gives all students a place to succeed and teaches them valuable lessons about “Living in Beta“.
Maker Culture is everywhere, and whether or not you have a 3D printer, or a bunch of cardboard toilet rolls, as long as you can create – your are welcome. Makerfaire is the celebration of these talents with large events happening all over the US (and now World) and Make magazine gives inspiration to those just starting. Browser the eZine or view a MakerFaire and be inspired – and allow your students to impress you in multiple ways as well!