“Letters, we get letters…”

“Letters, we get letters…”

Mark Frauenfelder and Dan Woods got sent this letter about the latest issue of MAKE, Volume 20. We got the sender’s permission to post it here:

Mark and Dan,

This is Jim Kelly, the freelance tech writer in Atlanta. Hope you guys are doing well.

Just wanted to write and tell you how impressed and inspired I am with issue 20 of MAKE magazine. The interview (and foreword) with Adam Savage was extremely fun to read. As a father of a 2.5 year old, I too am anxious to encourage my son to explore, take apart, design, and enjoy the creative process.

Issue 20 was directed at kids, and I think you hit the bullseye, with force behind it. I hope this issue is one of your bestselling ones, and I for one am encouraging parents I know to pick up a copy. I’m also purchasing a few extra copies for some teachers I know.

My son just got done watching me configure my new CNC machine to mill out some fun designs on wood; his eyes could not have opened any wider. I wish all kids could have access to this level of technology and machinery, but unfortunately, our school systems seem to be cutting shop class and art projects and focusing time and money on standardized test-taking skills… how unfortunate.

To bring this all home, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is such a demand for material/content that encourages our youth that a void has been created and cannot be filled fast enough. MAKE is in a unique spot to develop something that goes a little beyond the Maker Shed and the quarterly magazine. Maybe it’s a subscription-based activity website, with monthly special projects broken down into categories such as “Do It Yourself” (no parents required), “Dad and Me” (or “Mom and Me” – projects with the parents), and more. Maybe it’s a special magazine (like your Halloween special issue) that focuses on even more kid-friendly content. Or maybe a mixture of projects and inspirational interviews (Dean Kamen comes to mind) in a book format.

I’ll wrap this up by saying that I, Jim Kelly, hate the three month wait between issues of MAKE… I read every issue over and over again. I’m starved for this type of content. And I’m an adult – imagine what those kids who have this creative streak inside them must feel? They’re in need of something… not sure what… and maybe you guys can figure out what to offer them. Issue 20 could easily be just the tip of the iceberg.

Take care,

Jim Kelly

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words, Jim. Reaching the educational market, be it home-schooling parents or teachers in grade school and college, is an increasing focus of ours. We see the new Make: Science Room as part of that effort. We also have the Make: Education social network to reach out to educators and and to create a place where they can network with each other. We’ve also been working on a dynamic new project-based program of making and mentoring designed to raise the next generation of makers. We’re developing this with some very innovative, high-profile partners and are very excited about the prospects. Stay tuned — we’ll be making an announcement about this in the next few months and looking for some kids to participate in a pilot program.

We’d also like to point out that there is something to tide maker parents, kids, and educators over between issues of the magazine: this website, Make: Online! Over the past year, we’ve been adding much more original content, regular columns, weekly projects, guest authors, and special programs. And then there are our regular Weekend Project podcasts, and special videos, like Collin Cunningham’s MAKE Presents series, and Marc de Vinck’s how-to and kit build videos. There’s a lot going on here, so we hope you’re getting your daily dose of MAKE from us. If there’s anything else you’d like to see us do here to satisfy your MAKE fix, please let us know. We’re always looking for ways to expand and improve the site.

From the pages of MAKE:

Want to know how to build a hydrogen rocket? How about a laser light show in a lunchbox? Or a simple remote-controlled videocam car? Or maybe you want to go old-school and build a wooden mini sailboat or toy car launcher? All this and tons more, plus revealing photos of Adam Savage’s maker childhood, can all be found in MAKE, Volume 20, “For Kids of All Ages.” Get your individual copy in the Maker Shed, or subscribe now.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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