For those who may not know, Maker Faire is a celebration and showcase of the maker culture and Maker Movement. The Maker Movement features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft. The defining characteristics about maker culture are if it can be imagined it can be made and the process of making it happen tends to be more important than the final product. Tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hackers, artists, teachers, engineers, science clubs, scientists gather locally, nationally, and sometimes even internationally, to learn! Exhibitors come to display their space, projects they have developed, and interact with curious visitors about it. Visitors come to participate in hands-on activities, learn new skills such as soldering, seek advice from well-versed makers, and ultimately gain inspiration for their own projects.
Maker Kenny with facilitating a project with the Free Library Makerspace in Philadelphia.
Nerdy Derby, Pinewood derby cars designed with buttons, pipe cleaners, and even fruit!
At the Nerdy Derby you can even animate your Nerdy Derby car as a .gif and get it online!
So, what did I do at Maker Faire? Visit booths, ask questions, jot down ideas, and make friends of course! One of my primary objectives was to participate in a couple panels representing Maker Education and my time as a Maker Corps intern at the Tech Museum of Innovation. Alongside the other Host Sites Mentors and interns, we took turns sharing our experiences of developing makerspace programs ranging from small libraries, a school summer classroom, a makerspace on Maui, and in my case, the museum floor. After the panels, I took the chance to share stories of successes, failures, and answer questions of our audience. A majority of the listeners were teachers, educators, and interested students looking for new, low budget methods to change how they introduce science and math concepts through project based learning. This discovery helped shed light on what the audience of Maker Faire is looking for and since then I’ve been thinking about what ideas, learning concepts, education materials, and how-to documentation to give back with my skills as a maker and budding educational program developer. I didn’t realize it before Maker Faire, but I discovered that I have a superpower: the ability to transform any activity into a fun event. Students can enjoy an amazing learning experience with scientific process and a project item as a souvenir of their great time!
Maker Education: Maker Corps Panel
World Maker Faire gave me the perfect amount of momentum to take what I need and compose ideas for personal projects and programs at the Tech Museum. Just by migrating from booth to booth, ideas began to formulate based off what I saw: Baby Oil 3D Printing, Apothecary Tech, e-textile sensor gloves, Origami jewelry, Inflatables, Bioluminescence mini kits, Little Bits, a CNC Pour-over coffee machine, and so much more. Some things discovered I had no idea existed, but piqued my curiosity. No matter how ridiculous the idea, you can make it happen and even combine two ridiculous ideas into something amazing. Having the ability to connect with individual makers and sharing their process so you may succeed like them! You can even network for future collaborations to refine your idea.
Human Potential Energy machines.
MIT MEDIKits for Nurses interacting with children.
Become an underwater explorer with this kit!
The possibilities are endless at a faire like this one. Making gives everyone the opportunity to try something and that something can be the next stepping-stone to your personal innovation.