This past weekend, I attended the 12th iteration of the Bay Area Makerfaire event in Silicon Valley. The week before the event was set to kick off there was an article in the SF Chronicle suggesting it would most likely be the last year. The rationale was due to cost and declining attendance.
Here’s what I know about having attended this event and promoting it in schools around California for the past many many years: it is life-changing.
The concept of the makerspace, MakerFaire, and just being a Maker is a return to a hands-on experience that many of us lost when technology began its climb into our daily lives. From amazing projects created and designed by teams to innovation introduced by singles, there was much to learn, discover and experience on a regular basis.
Throughout the years, when I talk about being a Maker mom, a promoter of maker teachers, and a designer of maker environments and schools, I am still often asked what does that actually mean?
I share it’s full circle back to where we began when in classrooms, in garages, and in bedrooms all over our country people would design and create amazing things for every day use.
For students and teachers alike in public education, it was an excuse to get away from the grind of standards-based education. Schoolwide efforts and districtwide initiatives to introduce Makerspaces has also begun a decline in the recent years.
What I’ve concluded is that it’s not due to a lack of initiative or desire, rather really good teachers at really great schools integrate the concepts much like they do in the way they use technology as a tool in the classroom- never the end result.
In my last year serving in the Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District, this has become even more true with our teachers across both high schools. The integrated innovation and examples of what we would refer to as maker activities are prevalent in many courses.
& if the local events do dwindle, don’t worry. The recent addition of dedicated maker programs at community colleges throughout the state has shown that there is a great opportunity for the learner that may not be book heavy will have a place at the table.
Here are the maps I encourage you to share with all of your high school students so that they understand that the traditional four year college is not the only route to go:
Keep Making. I believe in you.