PLAN C LIVE: Informal Education in a Pandemic

Maker News
PLAN C LIVE: Informal Education in a Pandemic

Science centers, children’s museums, Boys and Girls Clubs, community centers, even libraries, have been shut down because of COVID-19. The many programs that serve youth afterschool or during the summer have been unavailable while some organizations have shifted to virtual programs.  These organizations, known collectively as informal education, offer learning experiences outside of school, and they have provided important and innovative alternatives to formal education.  Experiential, hands-on learning occurs more often in informal learning environments than in formal education. The practices of informal learning have helped to shape how formal education thinks about making and makerspaces.  

As schools consider strategies for re-opening, and virtual learning seems the likely option, what role can informal education play in and out of school?  What are these organizations doing and  planning to do for virtual learning experiences? How do we help parents and children who may not be returning to school in the Fall?

Recorded on Thursday July 16

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  • Joel Gordon, Making & Tinkering Manager, Scott Family Amazeum, Bentonville, AK
  • Sherry Marshall, President, Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Curt Gabrielson, author of Tinkering and More Tinkering, Greenfield Community Science Workshop, Greenfield CA
  • Sonia Bueno, New York Hall of Science, Manager of NYSCI Neighbors Community Programs. Queens, NY
  • Samantha Tumolo, New York Hall of Science, Maker Space Coordinator, Queens, NY
  • Katie Koffler, Associate Director of Art and Making, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh PA
  • Ram Mosher, Senior Maker Educator, KID Museum, Bethesda MD


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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


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