I do not consider myself a Maker at least not a maker of physical things. I am learning to become a maker and I am encouraging others to make. True confession, I have always struggled as a Maker. My father he was and is a Maker. He has the ability to see a vision in his head, transfer that vision onto paper and then build it. As a young man I did not see the value of making. Years later I wish I would have listened as he was teaching those lessons. What are some of the lessons of making?
The first lesson I have observed, the idea of creating a plan; taking that plan from a idea in your head to a sketch, then to low res and mid res. Being able to understand that following a process creates meaningful results is necessary in a world that desires immediate gratification. A few years ago, Atlanta had the great snow storm of 2014 leaving thousands stranded throughout the city. Upon returning to school, Kamau’s kindergarten teacher created an assignment around this event. How Might We design a better way to travel in snow? He had to sketch out his idea and build it. He chose Legos as his means of building out his idea. I did not help because I am not a Maker. This activity was fun in nature but it was building on the Maker Muscle; create a plan, sketch the plan and build the plan.
The Maker Movement also prepare students to create something out of nothing. I often hear that “we must prepare students for jobs that currently don’t exist.” My question, How do you prepare students for jobs or opportunities that do not exist? My answer create opportunities where students must deal with ambiguity. As an educator if you create an environment that allows students to struggle with problems and figure out the answers I feel that encourages them to create that world. When visiting Foundry 10 my students were faced with a Maker activity and they did not know the end result until they were at the end. They had all these wires and circuits and while following the facilitator’s instructions they eventually created a phone charger. The cool element, I witnessed students who seemed not to be interested immediately witness the personal impact making can create.
From my point of view the major impact that the Maker Movement will have is creating students who desire to make an impact on the world. Students (young and old) have a desire to know how what they are learning will be meaningful in their life. They also have a desire to make some type of impact on others. I have witnessed this through the MVPS iProject and through TJ Edwards Technology, Engineering and Design course. Emme Watkins and Brittany Whitstine created the Hearing Wheel to assist individuals who have hearing impairments. It signals drivers that an emergency vehicle is approaching by lighting up the steering wheel. TJ’ class 3D printed a hand for a young man born with a partial thumb. This young man shared with them, “I want to be able to drive and hold a coke at the same time.” So the impact of your work on others can be generated by Makers.
Creating A Plan. Executing A Plan. Grit and Resilience. Creating Something Out of Nothing. Impact on Others. The Role of a Maker.
What are the ways you see the Maker Movement impacting the lives of students?