08 Jan What’s Ahead for the Maker Movement
Many employers claim that they want creative thinkers on their team. Unfortunately, when it comes time for these “outside-the-box” thinkers to shine their ideas are often deemed too risky. Since 2005, the folks at the magazine Make: have been doing their best to change this mindset. Dale Dougherty, the magazine’s creator, set out to show how crucial outside-the-box thinking benefits the business world.
The movement started in the workplace, but over the years it’s grown from the business world to encouraging creative thinking and hands-on thinking in schools as well. This definition evolves as the movement expands. If your city doesn’t yet have a dedicated makerspace, it might soon.
What is a Maker
Makers are creators in tech, art, science, textiles, woodworking, game development, or anything else they imagine. MIT points out that the Wright Brothers were among the most iconic Makers in history. By combining the already well-known technology of bicycles and kites and adding the gas engine, they created something entirely new. Makers enjoy innovation and do what it takes to gain the understanding they need. That includes collaborating and gaining knowledge on their own from different disciplines.
The maker movement really took off in the tech industry. Innovators took a lot of significant risks developing software and databases that connected individuals all over the world. The only way that was possible was by collaborating and expanding their knowledge base. They accomplished this through networking, with such events as The Maker Faire. Here professionals could network, get hands-on learning, and talk about their plans and goals.
Maker gatherings started popping up not only just around the country but also around the world. Countries like China, Kuwait, and Germany are just a few that have launched conferences with government support. With all of these individuals from different backgrounds jumping on board, makers hope to diversify the tech industry.
The big question is how are these entrepreneurs going to diversify the tech industry. The answer is, teaching them. The United States has done a lot in the past to increase interest in STEM programs. More needs to be done however to give every child the chance to get interested and give them paths into careers in Tech, Science, and Engineering.
For some students simply learning by reading from a book isn’t enough. That’s why Makers in education are attempting to add “active learning” into their curriculum. This gives students of all ages hands-on access to information they might not have had before.
Additional Teaching Methods
The classroom isn’t the only place that these future makers are being developed. They’re getting it from toy makers as well. According to Forbes, toy manufacturers see the benefits of teaching children the art of computer coding from an early age. Developers like Nintendo included the information in games for the Switch. This can teach children how to make their own interactive games. The creators of Makey Makey developed a toy for children to teach them how to make switchboards and other computer components.
Educating the Future
One reason the lack of diversity has hit so hard in the tech world is the lack of affordable education. For example, students had to seek expensive higher education in schools like MIT or Yale to get into the fields that required computer scientists. The maker movement plans on eliminating the need for such prestigious schooling. By making these programs available to the students going to community colleges or tech schools the tech industry could potentially see a large influx of diversity in the coming years.
Finding a Makerspace Near You
Across the country, many large and small cities boast their own makerspaces. These range from large, sophisticated, government-supported facilities, to scrappy little corners of warehouses. Public libraries, museums, and universities are hopping on board by opening their own makerspaces. Some, like this one based at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, offer their own equipment and even professional guidance on how to use it. Our hometown of Dayton features Proto Build Bar, Dayton Diode, and fabspace, among others!
If you don’t have one in your city, why not start your own, as this article from Smith System suggests. Of course, you can always pursue your dreams in your own work space at home, but make sure to get out and network, too. That’s how ideas spread and grow! Open yourself to a world of possibilities that only your wildest dreams could take you.
PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain