For my first blog post, I used my space to be a Make evangelist. This time, I thought I would tell you a bit about why I am such a fan, and what I think Make has to share with other educators- both formal in informal.
Maker Spaces, both in community and school settings, are spaces that nurture innovation and experimentation. With an emphasis on coming up with ideas or projects and then tinkering with materials in hands-on ways to find solutions, Make is a philosophy that embodies the notion of valuing process over product. There is also a perception that ideas and creations can always be improved upon, so even when you are done making something, you could probably still tweak it to be better, more aesthetic, more efficient, or more interesting. There does not have to be an “end goal”.
There is also a strong culture of mentoring. As community spaces, there is an emphasis on open sharing of skills as well as tools. People regularly offer their expertise to someone else who is struggling with a project. As part of the Maker Education initiative, Make is partnering with AmeriCorps to offer training to a MakerCorp so there is a population of young adults comfortable with the Make principles as well as some of the materials who are prepared to go forth and mentor young Makers. If you are curious about some of their resources, here is a link for you http://makered.org/resources/.
One of the most important features, to me at least, is the interest driven nature of Make experiences. While MakerSpaces do offer workshops for members to gain new skills with tools and such, if you walk in to one of the spaces during an open work time, you will find a wide variety of projects out as each person explores ideas and activities they are curious about.
I am hopeful that Make is here to stay and will continue to offer collaborative, hands-on experiences for all of us to become more active as producers, as well as consumers of technology!