Empower. Excite. Experiment. Inspire.

These are some of the words Renee Harmon, Vice President of Science Learning at the Science Center of Iowa (SCI), uses when describing the amazing, statewide impact of her organization’s work in maker education. For teachers and students across Iowa, the Science Center of Iowa has become a focal point and inspiration for a growing community of makers.

It is so important, Harmon tells us, for her organization and maker educators in general “…to develop networks, collaborate…and increase…[understanding] of how best to support K-12 schools and libraries as they initiate their own maker journeys.”  That’s why Renee will be attending Maker Ed’s 2016 Maker Educator Convening at The Crucible in Oakland, California. This event will be a unique opportunity for maker educators to strategize, share, and deepen the collective impact of maker education!

Though Science Center of Iowa has done amazing work to become a leader of the maker movement in their community, their journey has not been easy. At Maker Ed, we often hear from the maker educators we encounter that the opportunity to connect with others in the field can be incredibly valuable, but hard to come by. We know that there is a need out there for fostering these connections, and we want to meet that need.

For the Science Center of Iowa, Renee tells Maker Ed, attending the Maker Educator Convening will allow her organization to make vital community connections, to learn from other inspiring maker educators, and to increase their ability to provide training and support to Iowa’s growing maker educator community.

Since 2014, The Science Center of Iowa has been developing amazing opportunities for teachers and students to engage with the maker movement. Their [email protected]/ Makers Studio program invites visitors to explore the design process, and facilitates hands-on, collaborative innovation through daily Studio Time over the summer. SCI has also increased the attention and focus on making in their community by facilitating the professional development program Making STEM Connections.This dynamic program empowers teachers in Grades K-8 to cultivate engaging, purposeful and successful extensions of their already developed curriculum using maker skills and materials. In fact, Making STEM Connections was selected by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council for the 2016-17 school year, which will enable SCI to provide professional development to 460 educators, museum professionals and librarians across Iowa.

More information about the 2016 Maker Educator Convening, and a link to register, can be found here. You can learn more about the Science Center of Iowa on their website, or by following @SCIOWA on Twitter.