AnnMarie Thomas: Making Makers

Ann MarieThomas is the Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative. She talks about making makers and the importance of making things in order to learn them. According to her, many successful makers were created in families where parents gave their kids freedom and support to make their own inventions. Such makers increased their learning by going through the process of making what they envisioned. The Maker Education Initiative supports this view and seeks to create opportunities for youngsters to engage in learning through making.

I hope we are giving today’s kids, the skills and the tools both, literal and figurative that they need to turn their dreams into reality

My name Yitongliton, I study Mathematics  and plan to become a middle school teacher. Thomas’s point of view is very interesting to me because I always wanted to become a maker of electronics but thought that I would have to acquire some specialized training to become one. However, her presentation opened my eyes and I now believe I can start my own projects without formal training. This is great for me because once I work on my projects and develop confidence can help my future students learn a lot by guiding them to through their own individual projects.


Maker Movement and the Extreme Possibilities

What’s Up!  My name is Anthony, I am a Phys. Ed. major here at York College, I am working for my Bachelor Degree in P.E. K-12 and state teaching license.  When I have all the credentials required I plan to teach P.E. for which ever grade level I have the opportunity to teach.  Also I love sports and have a lot of experience playing many sports and I love the beneficial aspects of physical fitness therefore I would also like to coach sports and be a trainer as well.

Maker Kids at Maker Faire Austin from the MAKE blog

I find the theme of this class using the ‘Maker Culture’ as a guide to be a very interesting approach in enhancing student’s creativity, intelligence and understanding of the world around them.  No matter the age it is a very valuable trait to cultivate one’s creative outlets. From science & art to mathematics & engineering to sports & music, creative ingenuity propels that motor.


In my initial searches to elaborate on the ‘Maker Culture’ I aimed to draw a correlation between Phys. Ed. and the Culture and there wasn’t much connection between the two but there was one particular link that landed in my search.  It was a site designed by Red Bull which is a very cutting edge company that heavily invests in EXTREME SPORTS!  Red Bull stays in the now and recognized the movement of the ‘Maker Culture’ and designed a pretty cool website dedicated to the ‘Maker Culture’ called RED BULL CREATION.

After much thought and through all the creative and innovative adventures sponsored by Red Bull, I began to realize just how deep creative ingenuity can go with regard to academics, athletics and everything in between.  Using the foundation of the Maker Movement I feel I will tap into my creative outlets and become a better teacher/leader.




Propelling Creativity

I’ve always found interesting the way minds of children work and how they should take advantage of their wide imagination. When children work together and collaborate their ideas, thoughts are brought to action. Especially children should be encouraged by their educators to create stuff with their own hands so they can invent things of their own liking. Making something is a way to express yourself and remain engaged in the act of creating. I believe that making and learning go hand in hand because making things from scratch is crafty and requires critical thinking skills.

My name is Stephanie Azcona and I’m a student at York College majoring in English/Childhood Education. This is why I’m mainly referring to children. I truly enjoy working with children and studying about the many ways to teach them effectively. As a future teacher, I would definitely incorporate the ideals of making into my classroom. This also requires motivation and there are many ways to push students to complete their creation. It is important for the creative mind of children to be explored on their own. Putting your imagination to work and actually bringing your visions to life.

Maker culture can be fused with education because craftsmanship is a method of learning and expressing ones imagination. That is why it is essential for children to be encouraged to be craft savvy, since it’s an awesome skill to acquire and explore. I particularly chose to read this article because I agree with its title, Craftsmanship is Dead. Long Live Maker Culture.

“The movement encourages boys and girls to view themselves as creators of the world around them, in every possible sense. It emphasizes collaboration and shared skills and ideas. It makes it possible to envision designing not just objects but systems.”


STEAM Powered Classrooms

Despite its reputation for being one of the most innovative countries in the world, it might be surprising to learn that the United States is not doing a good job at producing strong math and science students. This is a serious concern not just for educators, but all others who are invested in the future of the country, and its children. That means everyone from policy makers like President Obama, to high-tech companies who need the engineers and designers to create the next innovative product that will drive their business.

Which is why there is a national movement to get young students more interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) branches. There is the belief that by introducing children to the maker movement and the idea of making and being makers will do just that. And with constant budget cuts that kill art programs, bringing the maker movement to the classroom might just help remedy that problem as well.

One of president’s goals is to get more young girls and boys excited about what’s called STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math. And I believe that the maker movement, the maker culture is a really powerful way of doing that. Tom Kalil, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Making forces children to utilize all of their mental faculties from brainstorming, to planning and problem-solving. Turning an idea into something real and tangible is like an art. So if the maker movement found its way into classrooms it would generate interest in not just the sciences, but the arts as well, giving us STEAM powered classrooms.

Art or science? Probably a touch of both.

I didn’t know it, but I guess I was always a maker (when I wasn’t being a breaker). I used to make things with broken electronics, owned a electronics kit from RadioShack as a child, tried to start a comic book with a friend using linoleum prints, rewired and recycled an old Xbox controller into a PC controller. While making didn’t make me an artist or great at math, it did allow to to explore those worlds. As it turned out I did eventually become a science major, so maybe there is something to this maker-STEM connection.

Casey Shea certainly thinks so. It’s the reason why he’s converting one of the classrooms at Analy High into a makerspace. The author of the article (Maker Education Initiative Executive Director, AnnMarie Thomas) actually goes on to discuss the maker-STEM connection. Here she is actually demonstrating it:

A Closed Minded Teacher’s Open Mind

Me, wanting to be a Elementary school teacher, was inspired by the traditional structure of teaching. We are talking textbook readings, copying notes off the chalk board, multiple choice questions and tests on the context read in the textbook and taught in class. This approach is pretty standard but in some cases, such as science, this isn’t the most effective way to teach. I remembered plenty of times in school where we would occasionally do an actual experiment. Most of the time it was the same ones all the time, over and over again and they were structured in such a way that they were almost robotic, boring, not creative and for children at the ages of 6 to 10 this makes the point of the experiment ineffective due to the lose of the students attention and interest.

At first, I hated the idea of technology and computers in an Elementary school classroom. I felt this would take away from the standard skills that students need to learn for their academic career. However, in certain subjects I can see the benefit of hands on education. I had limited my feelings of technology to computers but through this research on STEM education, I have realized that certain subjects need a more hands on approach in order for a student to actually learn something.

In the blog called,Teachers Are Key to Building STEM Brand by.Ryan Lytle he expresses the idea that teacher need to embrase the idea of changing the way science, technology and music are taught. We, as teachers, are the root and foundation of this evolution in teaching. We must begin by opening our minds to new ideas. He says,

There is a universal fear among many teachers that STEM is a difficult set of topics to teach, she says, and starting conversations to alleviate these fears is vital to the future of STEM in the classroom.

To begin with this idea Mr. Lytle says we should talk to our peers about how to do this. Begin to work as a team. I feel that this video, with Physics and Chemistry teacher, Frank Noschese is a good beginning.


In the video the most important part to me is the beginning were he explains the “problem” he has with the way things are taught now. He describes the difference between the way scientists and students explore science. We see that the way students learn science isn’t very effective and it turns students off the idea of science. However, He then gives his own model for how he feels we can truly teach science in a way that is not only effective but fun, exciting and gets students motivated to learn more. This is what is the teachers most important goal in the end, don’t you think?

Adam’s Call to Blow Up Schools

Adam Savage one of the two Mythbusters did not exactly ask anyone to blow anything up, particularly schools (though he’s quite capable of creating explosions). He did however in his keynote address at the 2012 Maker Faire in San Francisco to re-examine education and find inspiration in the Maker Movement. He was invited to talk about how he believes the Maker Movement could influence the future direction of education. In particular he emphasized the connections to knowledge and people through making:

When you make something, the world becomes a little more parsable, it becomes a little more understandable to you. You become part of a conversation. And when you make things that you can’t not make, that conversation goes really deep, and you meet other people that are making the same things they can’t not make, and these people become your friends and your confidants, and your teachers and your mentors…

He also emphasized that it doesn’t matter what you make or why you make, just that you do. I thought this was particularly interesting because he and many other makers that tend to build things inspired by pop-culture (like a Star Trek tricorder and Ghostbusters proton packs). And these makers are often derided as being ‘unoriginal.’

To Savage this is BS, because of the point above, you are learning and discovering a community of tinkerers to engage. Savage talked about his making process which has had him vacillate between building things of his own and those infused by his love of pop culture. But it was the desire to have the things he saw in TV and film that first inspired him. He built his first cardboard space-ship so that he could be like Han Solo fly his own Millenium Falcon built into his parents closet.

At a certain point though he envisioned making a man, not something he’d seen in movies, but something he could picture perfectly in his mind. And he worked, and worked as a twelve-year old boy with the support of his family and created the “cardboard man” which stayed on his front porch until the elements had their way with his sculpture. Below was his next project, “sitting man”:

Adam Savage’s Sitting Man Sculpture at 12-13 years old.

I’ve only recently discovered maker culture, but I’ve been making things for a long time now. I studied art in college, and graduate school, but before that I loved to create things with my childhood friend Chris Hall. He was an amazing model builder, fashioning a simple out-of-the-box model tank into this really cool diorama which included all his original modifications through air brushing and retooling. The plastic pieces would be distorted with heat and super-glue, and the final product was always better than the picture on the box, really. I benefited from getting to spend time in his basement building all sorts of things – fishing flies, popsicle stick forts, and more.

I now teach media at York College as part of our Communications Technology program, which has an inherent maker approach. Students learn to create all sorts of videos, design projects, and more through the program. But we’ve recently been inspired to create a makerspace and a maker course for our students so that we could get them into tinkering with tools. It’s brand new, but I’m most excited to learn to play with things like 3D printers, Arduinos, Makey Makey, and a Raspberry Pi. These new tools will likely bring me to new places in what I create, and hopefully I’ll be able to bring those experiences to my students.

*Thoughts Come to Life*

Noah and Jacob’s creation

Growing interest in bringing the ideals of maker culture into education would help students grasp better understanding of the concept or lesson that is being taught to them. It would be beneficial for lots of reasons, students can learn on how to put their thoughts together and accomplish exactly what they are thinking of and or about. Creativity plays a major role, as where it gets one to think and use their knowledge and past experiences to develop they something they wish to create.

“Maker culture represents the desire of individuals to return to a lifestyle that includes a person making their own life tools and understanding how the machines that we depend on operate.”

The imagine above shows two brothers- Noah and Jacob playing with their water gun. On the side, we are able to see their cardboard made house. The two boys are very imaginative and are always looking to create something. Tina Budnits, their mother calls this idea – “Tinkering.” When Noah and Jacob work on their creation, they use everything but direction.

My name is Uzma Qasim. I am an undergrad student here at York College- CUNY pursuing my dream of becoming a teacher. I am majoring in Childhood Education w/ Psychology. I’ve wanted to become a teacher my whole life. At the age of five, my interest in teaching began. I always wanted to teach my peers how to draw, read and do math. As i matured, my passion for teaching became a lot stronger. I began working with children of all ages, teaching them how to be able to read and write became appealing to me because children’s are very impressionable, interested in learning and receptive to new concepts. I enjoy tutoring students and helping them build confidence in ability to achieve, both academically and socially.

I can imagine using these ideals in my K12 classroom to get my students excited about learning. Getting their imagination to actually come out to life would not only help them understand but also feel comfortable in having to express themselves.

“Remember everything that’s been created came from someone’s imagination.”


Maker movement fused with education

Hello everyone my name is Meir Galed and my major is Health Education (K-12).

Education as we know it is on the rise and is being fused with technology. It is starting from elementary levels and it is amazing how children are learning and using new ideas and coming up with new concepts. The ideas and concepts of creating something other than just sitting in a class in rows and facing the teacher with a bored face and showing no interest. One of these new concepts is technology and how children are incorporating technology with their education. Below is an image of people creating new things at the Maker Faire and they are in the young makers program and the faire shows many of their inventions.

Maker Faire Africa 2010 – Nairobi By Maker Faire Africa

writing an essay in apa format

Why Making in Education?

I want you to search for articles, blog posts, images, videos, etc. that talk about the growing interest in bringing the ideals of maker culture into education. Good terms ‘maker’, maker space, STEM and maker, K12.

You will create your first blog post and reflect on maker culture and introduce how you could imagine using some of these ideals in your K12 classroom. This means you should also introduce yourself and your future plans as a K12 teacher.

In this post, you will need to link to at least one article (website address) you are referencing and embed either a video or image(s) to illustrate your perspective as well.

Be sure to visit the about page to find Audrey Water’s article about Maker Culture in Education.