Monday, November 3, 2014

Connecting to Like Minded Maker/Educators

Last week, I went to an amazing conference. Amazing because I met like-minded people, networked like crazy, heard and saw new things and came away filled to the brim with excitement. Bottom line: I no longer felt like one of a few people who believed that making and doing are the way to teach students. The conference: the at ASU, brought together the 153 colleges and universities that took the maker pledge. These schools agreed to do one or more of the following:
  • Allowing students that are applying for admission to submit their Maker portfolio
  • Investing in Makerspaces that are accessible to students across the campus, or serving as “anchor tenants” for commercially-operated Makerspaces
  • Supporting education, outreach and service-learning that is relevant to Making, such as encouraging students to serve as mentors for young Makers
  • Supporting research that advances making technologies and facilitates greater access to making experiences such as the development of new tools for desktop manufacturing
  • Expanding access to university shared facilities and scientific instrumentation to Makers
  • Encouraging students to use their senior design projects to experiment with Making and Maker-preneurship
  • Providing scholarships to students based upon excellence in making
  • Participating in regional efforts to create a vibrant Maker ecosystem that involve companies, investors, skilled volunteers, state and local officials, libraries, museums, schools, after-school programs, labor unions, and community-based organizations
Wow! 153 higher ed institutions believe in this. And it's not just STEM schools, Bucknell is one of those schools and they understand how this includes the liberal arts and must be interdisciplinary. So if you are connected to a higher ed institution which is not one of the 153 thought leaders, exert your influence as an alum. If colleges and universities get it, then it makes it easier for high schools to get buy in from parents and students. Parents will see that it's ok for their children to make things, and that they will still get into college. Maker portfolios are here. Let's start creating them!