PLAN C LIVE: Educational Kits

Maker News
PLAN C LIVE: Educational Kits

Kits enable making.

They are especially good for beginners and young makers.  They are also a convenience for parents who want to encourage children to start making but don’t have time to track down tools and supplies. The number of kits and the different types of kits by and for makers have grown from only a few to maybe thousands.  There are kits for robotics, coding, electronics, wearables, and kits with tech that bring the world alive.

During COVID-19, kits can be an important supplement to the education provided by schools.  In this conversation, we’ll be talking about the educational value and uses of kits, and our panelists are developers of kits.

  • What makes a good educational kit?
  • What makes an educational kit good for children?
  • Does it need to be tied to curriculum?
  • What are the different kinds of experiences that kits enable?  Are some types of kits better than others?
  • What is an open-end kit versus a closed kit?

Recording date: August 6 @ 4pm PT / 7pm ET

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The Panel 

  • Jay Silver, Makey Makey : Connect the world to your computer! Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between.
  • Deren Güler, Teknikio : We think of each kit as a new ingredient pack for your personal toolbox that you can use to reimagine your environment. Every invention starts with an experiment. Design gadgets and thingamajigs, sew wearable technology for your pet, reimagine your world with science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Canon Reeves – MORE TECH : MOREbot is a 3D printable prototyping platform made for bringing ideas to life and solving real-world problems and while teaching real tech skills. All of its parts are modular and snap together  – everything just works.
  • Lance Akiyama – STEM Inventions : The STEM Invention kit provides aspiring inventors with exciting and open-ended challenges that foster critical thinking, creative problem solving, and a whole lot of fun! There are no right or wrong solutions, just invent, test, reflect, and redesign.
  • Pete Prodoehl and Joshua Zimmerman – Brown Dog Gadgets : Creating a project from scratch can be difficult for the casual builder—finding the right directions, the right parts, and the right tools. Brown Dog Gadgets creates kits, and step-by-step project directions for all ages. No matter how or what you create, our products can help you learn the basics of electronics, circuitry, and solar energy.
  • Tianli Yu – Morpx : With image recognition technology as its core competence, Morpx has been focusing on the development of embedded image recognition engine for many years. Morpx’s MU series robotic products are deeply focusing on the maker and educational robots category.
  • Joel Sadler – Piper : Piper drives students to learn what is behind the screen. These educational, DIY experiences range from building a wooden case, to connecting the hardware of a real working computer and controllers. Piper Kits provide an engineering blueprint enabling students to engage in a sensory experience that bridges visual and tactile learning.
  • Jie Qi – Chibitronics : Chibitronics blends circuit building and programming with arts and crafts. We make circuit stickers and other tools for educators, artists and crafters so everyone can create and design their own expressive electronics.
  • Shannon Hoover and Carrie Leung, MakeFashion : MakeFashion explores the fusion of creativity and fashion with cutting-edge electronics—it introduces designers, engineers, and makers to cutting edge new technologies: fusing high-tech and high-fashion on the runway. MakeFashion Edu is a platform for young designers to take what they need from technology to share their stories, and don’t need to be engineers to do so.
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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