Posted by Ann Marie Murphy —
To tinker is to study. To fail is to be human. To make is to empower.
OSU Extension Service is evolving as the world changes. The Division of Outreach and Engagement (O&E) is on the evolutionary frontline, thanks in part to Charles Robinson’s exploration of cross-college collaborations. One such collaboration explores how the “maker” culture can support OSU’s land grant mission. (You can learn more about another of his collaborations by reading the blog posted January 25 titled: Arts Engagement Inspires Innovative Partnerships.)
This year O&E is once again supporting a two-day maker celebration with a focus on education and engagement. Organized by The CO• (more about the organization in a moment), the event will take place Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9. Mark your calendars!
Last year, this free community event brought over 1,000 visitors (including more than 150 K-8 students) to OSU’s Corvallis campus and had more than 45 interactive exhibits, including robotics, 3D printing, costume design and laser etching. This year, as in the past, visitors will come for hands-on demonstrations and insightful discussions. Or, if you’re a maker, a tinkerer, an artist, a builder, an engineer, a craftsperson, a machinist, an innovator, etc., etc., you might like to share your craft with visitors and other makers. If so, here’s a link to exhibitor information. Or volunteer! Volunteers are needed on both days of the event.
“Maker” culture is a popular movement honoring craftsmanship and technology and the sharing of knowledge, skills and resources. The maker events offer the OSU community and the general public the opportunity to collaborate, innovate and create. It also provides a forum for research and teaching the value of hands-on learning in K-20 classrooms.
A new addition to the annual event is the Friday “STEM to STEAM” symposium featuring Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and five other noteworthy panelists. The free event will be held in the Learning Innovation Center, Room 100, from 4 to 6 p.m. It’s an opportunity to bring together the makers of policies and the makers of objects to examine the challenges and rewards of integrating the Arts – the “A” – into STEM education. More about the panelists can be found at The CO•’s website.
On Saturday, kids and adults alike will enjoy the maker fair with more than 40 exhibitors offering hands-on learning experiences, including an interactive session on making skateboards. The maker fair will be held in the MU ballroom and Student Experience Center plaza.
The CO• is an OSU campus-Corvallis community collaboration that brings together makers from across campus, Corvallis, and the whole state of Oregon to celebrate and share their methods for hands-on learning. From the creative problem-solving skills so crucial to education in the 21st century to the benefits of quick prototyping tools needed to drive an innovative economy, every discipline and every individual has something to learn and something to teach.
“The CO• is also is a concept,” said Charles Robinson, a director of The CO• who also works on special initiatives for O&E, College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School. “The CO• is the start of a larger conversation around the educational, socioeconomic and cultural benefits of hands-on learning. It’s a gateway for anyone in the Willamette Valley who is interested in learning more about the power of making.”
Do you have a maker talent? Share it with us! (In case you’re shy about sharing, I make mosaic art and stupendous banana bread!)
Because it is humbling and astounding at the same time, I wanted to share The CO•’s Manifesto with you. It will give you a better sense of what’s to come at the April event – and beyond.
The CO• Manifesto
At The CO• we believe that hands-on, creative exploration helps encourage risk taking, cement learning, boost self-confidence, connect individuals and communities, and serve as a guide for understanding our individual and collective place in the world. As a space and a concept, The CO• makes the room necessary for the uncertainty and experimentation of the learning process. This process has many labels such as making, tinkering, exploring, creating, hacking, building, and prototyping. It occurs across various mediums—digital, technological, industrial, domestic, analog, and artistic. However, neither the label nor the tool is the most critical piece of this innovation equation. Rather, it is the time allotted for discovery, the self-directed time spent thinking critically and honing hands-on problem-solving skills, which cultivates innovation. Trying, failing, and trying again is a fundamental component of learning. At The CO• we advocate for an equitable distribution of time devoted to making, tinkering, creating, building, hacking, sharing, questioning, and connecting. We champion the liminal space where such exploration resides and the critical discourse that follows. We must ensure that all engaged in this creative process work through prejudice. Experimentation must be open to all regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality, abilities, age, geography, education level, and discipline.
Sponsor and partners for the event include: