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Why Schools Should Embrace the Maker Movement

What better way to get students interested in math, science, and design than helping them build a robot or go-kart?

One of the big challenges educators have is figuring out how to bring what they're teaching to life. It's a lot easier to get students to grasp why they need to learn abstract math, science, or design concepts when teachers bring project-based learning—like building a robot or a go-kart—into the classroom. So it makes perfect sense for teachers to team up with the Maker movement—the community of do-it-yourselfers who tap "science, art, performance, creative reuse, and technology" to make something fresh and useful.

Teachers are connecting with the Maker community at the Maker Faire, regional gatherings of makers who come together to share their projects, show off their creativity, and engage with the public about their work. In a blog for Edutopia, Michelle Hlubinka, the Education Director for Maker Faire and Make magazine, writes that every year she sees teachers who are "re-energized" by the time they spend at the Faire, where

there are no winners or losers—anything that's cool is fair game. It's not a competition, and there aren't prizes, so there are no judges deciding who has succeeded and who has failed. Yet Makers—some with two PhDs, others who never graduated from anywhere—are motivated to spend long hours in their studios, shops, kitchens, and garages finishing their projects.


What's also great is that students are welcome. If schools connect kids with the Maker community's culture of problem solving and creating, that could go a long way toward getting them interested in learning, not just in figuring out the right answer to bubble in on a Scantron form.

photo (cc) via Flickr user SparkFunElectronics

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