School’s In Session: 39 Lessons from the Make: Education Forum
Photo: Becca Henry
Photo: Becca Henry

Make: held an education forum at the New York Hall of Science, which consisted of a series of five panels, plus a talk with Carmen Fariña, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. We can’t tell you everything that the panels discussed, (though you can see it for yourself — on our YouTube stream of the event at the bottom of this post) but we picked a selection of quotable ideas that could help you educate someone close to you, whether you’re a teacher, a parent, run a makerspace, or just like to tell you friends what to do. Come learn with us!

  • “We made a culture where young people felt like they didn’t need permission to be great, to do great things.” – Divine Bradley, founder of The Future Project
  • “The best way to learn science and engineering is through the practice of science and engineering.” – Ellen Lettvin, Robert Noyce Senior Fellow in Informal STEM Learning, U.S. Department of Education
  • “Start a makerspace tomorrow, and don’t spend any money.” – David Wells, director of Maker programming, New York Hall of Science
  • “Every child in every school should pick up a screwdriver. Yes, they’ll need a Band-Aid.” – Gene Sherman, CEO/founder of VOCADEMY – The Makerspace
  • “Shop classes are the great equalizers.” – Gene Sherman
  • “I’ve definitely screwed up, and the kids know that, and I’m honest about it.” – Jeff Solin, director, Lane Tech Maker Lab
  • “We work with teachers, hoping they will help other teachers.” – Nancy Otero, director of professional development and research, The Beam Center
  • “It’s not a young people problem, it’s usually an adult problem.” – Divine Bradley
  • “Working with teachers starts with igniting a passion, and starts with a project in context, and most importantly is mindful of time, because that’s what everybody has this fear of. They have a curriculum to cover.” – Maureen Reilly, technology teacher, Marymount School of New York
  • “Non-traditional CTE (Career Technical Education) teachers are really the ones that are pushing us forward.” – Casey Shea, educator, Sonoma County
  • “There’s kids that may not traditionally be given the opportunities to shine, and Making can really bring that to them.” – Jeff Solin
  • “There’s most likely a public library in your community that would be a really great partnering platform for you.” – Tim Carrigan, senior program officer, Institute of Museum and Library Sciences
  • “The very best funded projects I’ve seen are like that children’s book, Stone Soup.” Karen Cator, president and CEO, Digital Promise
  • “It’s not about the space. The space will come later, the technology will come later. The Making is the thing.” – Tim Carrigan
  • “As we talk about funding, it’s got to be more than just, who’s going to write a check, but who are the communities and how do we get creative around those communities to really instill that these spaces get built and get used.” – Blair Blackwell, manager, education and corporate programs, Chevron
  • “We don’t think just about cutting a check, we think about an investment in the workforce.” – Jay Melican, maker czar, Intel
  • “It might be better if you talk with the teachers and asked them what they need in their classroom.” – Cat Allman, science outreach and open source program manager, Google
  • “Learning is not something that stops at three o’clock in the afternoon, and only happens between September and June.” – Tim Carrigan
  • “In some cases, schools don’t need more money for things, but they need a champion, a guru.” – Sonya Pryor-Jones, chief implementation officer, The Fab Foundation
  • “I worry about using words like schools and education. We really ought to be talking about learning.” – Gregg Behr, executive director, Grable Foundation
  • “There are no required pieces of equipment for Maker education. It’s so vast in its possibilities. What is it you love the most?” – Steve Davee, director of education, Maker Education Initiative
  • “Parents are really excited about the fact that their students are excited about learning.” – Laurence Cocco, director, Office of Educational Technology
  • “Just get started. You gotta sell that. You gotta push it. Teachers always go back to the norm. So it’s always pushing, and pushing, and pushing, to try and get this idea that we all know is great, that students should be learning by making, hands-on.” – Josh Ajima, technology resource teacher, Loudoun County Public Schools
  • “I always had my students make to represent their learning.” – Maureen Reilly
  • “It’s not about creating a makerspace, it’s about creating a culture.” – Maureen Reilly
  • “All forms of creativity, all forms of creation, are taken advantage of, it’s just sometimes they’re taken away, so let’s keep the blocks in the classrooms, make the blocks more varied and interesting, so that children will find what they’re most passionate about.” – Steve Davee
  • “My method is the pill in the dog food. Got to give them what they want and slip them what they need.” – Divine Bradley
  • “Industry partners are vital to this process, but it can’t just be about donating money to get help get the actual facilities up and running.” – Luke Bauer, principal, Urban Assembly Maker Academy
  • “How did we do this a thousand years ago? It was easy: You find a master, you give him an apprentice.” – Gene Sherman
  • “If you convince your higher ups, your academics, to open a makerspace in your school, make those doors stay open after school.” – Gene Sherman
  • “Interest and engagement in STEM, which is vital to pursuing coursework or careers in STEM, is really critical.” – Ellen Lettvin
  • “You teach these kids, and then they go and they teach other kids, and you can just see the confidence growing.” – Kelli Townley, head of production,
  • “It’s up to this community — the Maker community, the fabrication community — to be advocating with our policy leaders.” – Sonya Pryor-Jones
  • “People say laughter is contagious. I think creativity is contagious as well. When I’m around creative people, I’m more creative.” – David Wells
  • “There are a lot of people in the world who are auditory and visual learners, but there are a lot of people who are kinesthetic learners.” – Cat Allman
  • “STEM and Making require you to try stuff that doesn’t work, and that needs to be OK.” – Cat Allman
  • “We’re really seeing a changed culture in a region, not just in discrete schools, but museums and libraries and elsewhere.” – Greg Behr
  • “It doesn’t seem to be challenging for a high school to raise a million dollars for a new football field, so it shouldn’t be challenging for a school to raise twenty thousand or thirty thousand for a makerspace” – Tom Kalil, deputy director of technology and information, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • “If you want to scare yourself, Google the skills gap. If you want to see salvation, Google the Maker movement.” – Gene Sherman

Nathan Hurst is an editor at Make. He loves anything having to do with science or bicycling. He tweets as @nathanbhurst.

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