Inside Look at World Maker Faire NYC 2017
The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth took place this past weekend, September 23 & 24, at the New York Hall of Science. Makers, tinkerers, and builders from across the world met up to share ideas, designs, and laughs at the World Maker Faire NYC 2017. The innovative, open, and generous culture of making was on full display and the energy – especially from the children – could have powered New York City for weeks.
School Specialty made the trip to World Maker Faire NYC 2017. Keep reading and see what these three attendees had to say about the weekend.
Failure and The Making Culture
Paul Ramos, Sr. Marketing Manager
The projects and designs were rich with color and content that spanned all aspects of the education system – science, art, electronics, phys ed, agriculture, coding, shop tech, etc. Not observable by the naked eye are the set of skills almost all makers share – resiliency, curiosity, and resourcefulness. Such skills fail to appear as requirements in a traditional education setting. And perhaps this is because the culture of making requires failure and the ability for a person – regardless of age – to constructively assess failure, look to redesign, and if needed – seek the help of others. The right makerspace, as well as the right making culture, provide a safe environment for students to test their ideas and to learn from failed attempts. In an educational setting, making gives young people the opportunity to set up the requirements, or the standards, that need to be accomplished on way to achieving their mission.
Problem-Solving in a Makerspace
Mary Frediani, Assoc. Product Marketing Manager
In the traditional classroom, students are asked to think about problems within the context of a single subject—during math class they solve for x, and then in physics they determine the acceleration of a car. While these lessons are valuable, the problems that exist in the world outside of school require more than math or science or art to solve; they require them all. Makerspaces allow students to collaborate and apply those cross-category skills to complete a project or solve a problem—more accurately modeling the challenges they’ll meet after graduation. Kelly Bird Pierre, principal at Friends’ Central School, put it best during her panel discussion, “There are a lot of problems in the world, and we need to give students the opportunity to solve those problems.” Makerspaces are the first step to solving those problems.
Ownership of Ideas and Extended Learning Through Making
Erik Benton, Science Subject Matter Expert
The array of projects students presented at Maker Faire was inspiring, as was the range in levels of students. From a fourth grader, all the way up to grad students, almost all of them displayed a level of enthusiasm that was contagious. Many wanted to explain their projects and take them apart for me to see their inner workings, often putting them back together to let me use their project in some way. This level of ownership to content is often a goal for educators and can be key to truly engaging students in meaningful learning. What struck me was how many students brought up what they wanted to do next, based on what they had learned from their experience. Making instills this drive to continue developing, to try innovative ideas, and create new solutions, which are all valuable parts of a student’s toolbox of life skills.