According to Dr. Jackie Gerstein in a post for It’s About Time, there are several reasons contributing to the “perfect storm” that is allowing for the boom of the maker movement- a movement made up of “hobbyists, tinkerers, crafters and innovators” who are figuring out “how to build whatever you can imagine.”
Gerstein argues that the boom of the maker movement exists because of a perfect combination of factors that have encouraged individuals to become independent inventors.
These factors, she says, are:
- The Do It Yourself Movement
- Focus on STEM/STEAM Education
- Increase of Information Access/Abundance
- Affordable Maker Technologies
- Crowdsourcing and Participatory Culture
- Open Source Resources
With the increase of focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, many educators are using the maker movement to inspire students to get into STEM. Being able to “make” and create different things are typically less formal and have the ability to both engage and excite students; as a result, more and more schools are investing into makerspaces and the like.
Makerspaces are popping up even more frequently now because the technology that often helps students create is becoming cheaper as it becomes democratized/accessible to everyone.
“Maker technologies such as Makey-Makey, littleBits, Arduinos, 3D Printers, and robotics kits provide opportunities for learners to experiment and invent for themselves. They are accessible and usable by a wide range of skill and age levels; and even though there is a cost attached to them, they are more accessible to those with less financial means than similar technologies had been in the past,” Goldstein says.
And the more open source resources become available, the more opportunities makers have to share their “makes” with others, facilitating “the sharing culture that marks the maker movement.”
All of these circumstances and more, Goldstein says, should be a sign to educators and administrators that schools should be doing what they can to encourage young makers.
“The bottom line is that educators both in formal and informal settings would be foolish not to take advantage of this perfect storm of maker education resources, tools, and strategies that currently exist.”
Read Goldstein’s full post here.
Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor