Are You a Maker?

Have you heard of the “maker movement”?  Ever wonder what a MakerSpace is?  Do you think you qualify as a maker?

The concept of makerspaces has been growing in popularity, both in communities and within the education sphere in the last several years.  There are several terms that you might hear associated with this movement.

  • Tinkering
  • Building
  • Designing
  • Prototyping
  • Manufacturing
  • Fabricating
  • Problem Solving
  • Coding
  • Playing
  • Inventing
  • Innovating
  • Doing Good

But the point of the maker movement is really to empower everyday people – kids and adults – to do something.  Perhaps that means designing and coding a program, solving a problem by building a better object, welding a new toy, helping the planet by recycling materials, designing a prosthetic and printing it on a 3D printer, painting a new picture, sewing a new item of clothing, or cooking a new meal.

The possibilities are endless if you have the tools you need to build.  Most of us are makers every day when we problem solve our way through life.  But with spaces designed to provide access to tools, there is an increased opportunity to take our dreams and ideas and turn them into reality.  Of course failure will definitely be part of the journey at times, but don’t we often learn much more from our failures than from our successes?

kre8nowRecently I was able to visit a Lexington MakerSpace – Kre8Now Makerspace.  At their location on Simpson Ave they provide access to a wide variety of tools and resources as well as space to work.  I saw lots of cools projects in progress, such as the prosthetic arm prototype (pictured below) being made from a 3D printer for a young man who has outgrown his existing prosthetic but can’t afford a new one.

3D Printed Arm

But what was really cool about our visit was that I was looking at their space from the lens of a parent and an educator.  We have several schools considering creating their own version of a MakerSpace.  And while they may vary widely in the types and complexity of tools they offer, what is more important is that they are embracing the idea that our students need an opportunity, as well as guidance and encouragement, to build, create, problem solve and dream.

I know for many the maker movement is a new concept.  But I would encourage you to watch the video linked below and start thinking about how you can promote a maker mentality in your classroom – even if you don’t have all kinds of fancy tools.  Kids need to be encouraged to think, dream, and build.  And if we don’t teach our kids how, then who is?

Why Make?  To Learn Through Doing –

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