A New Beginning for MakerEd
A Mission of "Every Child a Maker"
When the Maker Education Initiative, usually shortened to MakerEd, was launched ten years ago, we had a motto: “Every Child a Maker”. It was suggested by someone in the Obama administration who encouraged us to form a non-profit to support educators bringing making into schools.
Behind that motto was the goal to transform our education system, one that doesn’t provide equitable learning opportunities to our underserved youth, and foster a creative culture that seeks to develop personal agency and the maker mindset in all students. Every child, given space, tools, and encouragement, can become a maker and flourish as a capable and creative learner. MakerEd sought to expand these possibilities for making — at school, preferably; or in after school or community settings such as libraries; and also let parents know about the importance of making so that they could foster it in the home.
Through the combined efforts of the maker educator community, maker education has met with success, perhaps even more than we imagined was possible ten years ago. Makerspaces exist in many K-12 schools and there is an increased awareness of hands-on learning, and how personal projects truly motivate students to learn- especially after campuses were closed down due to Covid, and teachers had to find creative ways to improve online learning for students.
Higher education has embraced makerspaces as an essential part of a student’s real-world learning on campus. Many larger universities have multiple makerspaces on campus, and some students arrive already knowing how to use a makerspace for their own projects, based on the skills and mindset they developed in high school.
Are makerspaces everywhere they need to be? Are they all well used? Are they evenly or fairly distributed across differing socioeconomic levels of society? Is building more makerspaces the only factor to consider in supporting maker education’s success?
Of course not.
As you probably know, MakerEd closed its doors in September of last year. Covid and other factors changed the outlook on funding and programs were cut back or canceled. However, we believe that the work of MakerEd is not done and we need to find ways to continue that work. You might says the lights are back on!
Our website at makered.org continues to be available, providing useful resources for educators that have been created over our ten years. More importantly, MakerEd will continue to uplift this mission: Every Child a Maker. Every child represents a new beginning, and this is a new beginning for MakerEd to fulfill its mission.
MakerEd is, broadly, a community of maker educators who do this important work in schools, libraries, community centers and after school programs. The work these educators take on is not easy but its impact is so valuable. Each educator must figure out how best to implement maker education and how to adapt it to the needs of local students and curriculum. We celebrate what maker educators do and want to help others learn to do this work.
This newsletter is the first new initiative of MakerEd. Our goal is to inform, inspire and grow this community of maker educators. We want to recognize many of the wonderful things that are happening in school makerspaces and elsewhere, which we don’t always hear about. We want to share what the practitioners know -- those who are doing the work of maker education at a high level. We also want to advocate for maker education so that it reaches more and more children in meaningful ways.
The time is perfect for re-asserting the value of maker education. Coming off Covid, our schools need to move forward, not backward, and explore new ways to develop the potential of each student to live a productive. meaningful life. Maker education can lead the way.
Please sign up for the MakerEd newsletter at makered.substack.com.
We want to hear from you. Let us know if you have experiences and knowledge to share in this newsletter. In the comments section, you can share your thoughts on the future of MakerEd and maker education. What’s possible for the MakerEd community?
Thanks to Donaldo Almazon, Stephanie Chang, Pam Moran and Jay Melican for their work on the new MakerEd.