Making Makers

The “Maker” subculture is gaining momentum.  Makers are people of all ages who create and build beautiful projects such as robots, electronics, and arts and crafts.  The idea behind the maker movement is for people to learn by doing.  It is a hands-on approach to learning which fosters creativity and self-expression.  Each year a convention is held in New York, Detroit, and San Francisco’s Bay area called “The Maker Faire“.  The faire showcases projects from makers young and old from all around the country.

A boy looks at Super Mario Lamps during the Maker Faire in San Francisco.                                              (Picture courtesy of spotlight.macfound.org)

The Maker Faire was a huge success but that is not the only reason to be excited.  The faire’s founder, Dale Dougherty, has announced a new maker education initiative.  The program will expand hands-on learning and building experiences for children in schools and other learning environments.

“We believe making provides rich, authentic learning experiences,” Dougherty said. “Such experiences promote creativity and develop problem solving skills while helping to establish a lifelong interest in science and technology. Becoming a maker can be life-changing for a child.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlrB6npbwVQ[/youtube]

As a future K-12 educator I am pleased to see that there is a growing movement to incorporate hands-on building, creating, and learning in our schools.  Students must be able to express themselves not only with words but with physical pursuits.  I myself am a hands-on learner, so I appreciated the importance of getting dirt on your hands and creating something from scratch.  As Mr. Dougherty says, “We are makers”.  Humans are natural creators and it is time we get back to our roots and foster our natural abilities.