Maker Party events feature people of all ages who are learning to code, making stop-motion animations, designing games, creating digital stories, fabricating wearable technologies, remixing websites, and so much more. John Jefferys from AdFABe, in conjunction with Nancy Otero of Active Emergence, participated in the Mozilla / Hive NYC’s Maker Party at the Bronx Library Center. The Maker Party is a great example of how engaging connected learning can become when it is interest-driven and production-centered. The mentors worked with a hands-on activity of building the Grand Canyon, from hundreds of laser-cut topographic layers which connected students with the concepts of spatial coordinate systems. The project encouraged further online research regarding mapping systems. More Maker Party events will run through September 15th, during which educators and makers will create opportunities to share hands-on making by hosting “learning parties” in schools, libraries, museums and community centers.
The White House Maker Faire last month was a very successful public relations event for the Maker movement. The value will be seen in the coming months and even years as the fuel this event has provided trickles into various programing. Some of the most important exposure has been for the education sector that is now now in the limelight to implement the promise of a brighter future this technology and project-based learning can provide. The highlights of the Faire for me are the long list of great programs that were given center stage. Such as, the Maker Vista Project which brings the Maker Ed Initiative to high poverty urban and rural areas, and the Career and Technical Education Makeover Challenge from the Department of Education, which states and local educational agencies can compete to receive upgrade of their CTE facilities. Also important are the shifts in the political sphere that will allow for change to happen for young people, one of the President’s initiatives to keep an eye on is the Mayor’s Maker Challenge which is collaborative effort to promote an environment for Maker activities and new manufacturing innovation.