Make: Education Forum Highlights Hands-On Learning and Community Among Educators

Education Maker News
Make: Education Forum Highlights Hands-On Learning and Community Among Educators


In this edition of the Make: Education newsletter, I’m excited to share videos from the Make: Education Forum, organized by Make:, Maker Ed, and New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), and held in the auditorium of NYSCI on the day before World Maker Faire in Queens. The event was sold out with over 300 educators in the audience. Many were from the local area, but attendees came from from 23 states and four countries outside the United States. There was a great energy among attendees, excited to be together and meet others who have a passion for bringing making into education.

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Make: Education Forum @ World Maker Faire Videos


#1. Introductory Remarks
Dale Dougherty

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“The most important thing that the Maker Movement is doing is inspiring and connecting teachers, parents, and students — not just to make but to understand the value of making and to transform the educational and learning experiences of all children.”

#2. Keynote: Equity and Access: Making as Social Justice
Pam Moran and Ira Socol of Albemarle Public Schools in Virginia

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Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools Pam Moran said in her keynote: “In reality, all of us who are in classrooms know that it’s not policy that either causes things to happen in classrooms or changes practice, it’s about philosophy, it’s about our beliefs and it’s about our values. So what we want to talk about today is how we reframe the idea of who we are through a values-based focus versus a policy or law-based focus.”

Ira Socol talks about his own experiences as an 8th grader who might have dropped out of school but found a school that asked students: “What do you want to do?” and which helped him become an engaged student. He talked about breaking down barriers between subjects and departments and reframing school around asking students: “What do you want to make?”

#3. Makerspace Explainer
Megan Butcher, a NYSCI Makerspace Explainer

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“Teaching science through making has been part of my job and my journey here,” said Megan Butcher who has worked at NYSCI for four years.

#4. Panel 1: Supporting Diverse Learners Through Making
Janella Watson, Director of Early Childhood Education; NYSCI; Stephanie Chang, Director of Programs, Maker Ed; Gina Tesoriero, NYC STEM Special Education Teacher, MS319 Maria Teresa; Dr. Kemi Ladeji-Osias, Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Morgan State University; Albert Palacios, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education; Moderator: Dorothy Bennett, NYSCI

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Janella Watson warned of the trap of making within schools and how “too often early STEM education or what we bring into our early childhood classrooms is a reflection of the creative thinking of the teacher as opposed to really eliciting the creativity of our students.” Stephanie Chang reminded educators who engage in making “to really invest in the humans behind everything. The tools, the materials, the stuff, the physical space is all good and important too, but the teachers are a crucial piece of it…because without the people this work could not happen.”

#5. Panel 2: Casting a Broad Maker Lens: Creative Computation and Creating Making
Amon Millner, Assistant Professor of Computing and Innovation, Olin College; Marc Lesser, Senior Director of Learning Design, Mouse; Leah Gilliam, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation,; Hillary Kolos, Director of Digital Learning, DreamYard Project; Lori Stahl-Brackle, Director of Instructional Technology, Manhattan Field Support Center, NYC Department of Education; Moderator: Errol King, Google.

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Errol King asked the panelists to answer the question, “What is creative computation?” And some of their amazing responses included: “burnt plastic,” “iterative,” “generative,” “epic,” “sequential,” “improvisational,” and many more. Watch the video to see how the panelists respond to the Errol’s next question, “What is not creative computation?”

#6. Panel 3: Highlighting Successful Maker Learning
Thomas Ralston, Superintendent, Avonworth School District (Pittsburgh) and Anne Seluka, Director, Remake Learning Council (Pittsburgh); Glenn Robbins, Principal, Northfield Community School (New Jersey); Akili Lee, Director of Digital Strategy and Development, Digital Youth Network (Chicago); Marc D. Erlenwein, Principal, Staten Island Technical High School (New York); Moderator: Trey Lathe, Executive Director, Maker Ed

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Glenn Robbins highlights how his teachers and students discuss, “What is school? We are doing the same thing over and over again.” From these discussions they engaged in a design process focused on the question, “What is the experience we are trying to create?” and, together, they designed unique spaces within their school for learning and fun.

#7. A Student Perspective
Julian Waters

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A student in the Albemarle County School district, Julian has himself developed as a maker and eventually found that his school was a place for making. Julian received a standing ovation for his talk. You can read his talk on Make: or watch it above.

Julian said: “Throughout my education, I’ve very clearly seen the ‘standardized’ system that current educational regulations force students into. The same learning environment and the same curriculum for every student must mean the same education experience, right? Wrong. And that’s why we’re all here. There’s no need to talk ad nauseam about why the system isn’t working for every student — we all know it. Instead, the productive conversation is about how schools have and are working to fix this issue. And that, also, is why we’re all here today. That’s why I want to share this story — not just mine, but Albemarle County’s.”

He concludes: “So many in our society are quick to criticize the system that public school students learn under, but equally strong in number are those who strive actively to change it. By promoting student voice, self-directed learning, and passion-centered projects in school, we’re making a lasting difference for students in their secondary schooling and well into their future. Together, we can make the education of tomorrow.”

#8. Chancellor Carmen Farina

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#9. Closing Remarks
Rajiv Mongia, Intel

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Thanks to Jessica Parker of Maker Ed and Peggy Monahan of NYSCI for organizing the day’s program, as well as Dr. Trey Lathe of Maker Ed and Dr. Margaret Honey of NYSCI.

In Other News…

Moore Inventor Fellows at The Tech Museum, November 2nd
Celebrate the Inventors of Today and Tomorrow. The Moore Inventor Fellows Event at The Tech Museum in San Jose, California, on November 2nd. High school and college students are welcome at the event. It is free but requires registration. You can register here.

How-To Project: 5-Minute Glowing Ghost Eyes


This project is easy to make with a fun result. It teaches a basic electronic circuit and requires only LEDs, a battery, some tape, a plastic bottle, and a handkerchief. Project instructions are available here.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty


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