National Week of Makers
The Maker Movement is a celebration of the talent and desire to create physical things. The National Week of Makers is June 17 – 23. I find the Maker Movement a wonderful environment for kids to explore their interest and natural proclivity to create things. This exploration is a perfect stepping stone to careers in trades such as carpentry, welding, sewing or set design. It can inspire career pursuits into electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, systems design or product design. The skills learned in building projects beyond the amazing tactile experiences include project management, resource allocation, research, budgeting.
Makers Faires are gatherings that allow Makers to share their inventions, techniques and passion for designing and building things. The largest Makers Faire, billed as the “The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth” is in San Matao, California each year. With over 145,000 people attending to see the over 1,200 Maker’s exhibits. This year it was May 18 – and 19. The National Maker Faire is June 18 and 19 in Washington DC. http://makerfaire.com/
Entertainment as Education
YouTube channels are making previously amateur makers an income, as they show their skills at creation. DIY and Maker TV shows are continually gaining popularity from home construction to auto and motorcycle reinventions to the legendary Mythbusters.
Americas Greatest Makers is a new TV competition show https://www.americasgreatestmakers.com/
Teams invented products using Intel’s Curie Module, then competed in teams against other inventors to win a $1,000,000 in prize money. The show chronicles the shark tank style discussions between judges and the makers. Each round was sandwiched between the inventors making improvements to the product, pitch and market understanding. The show gives a view into the world of inventors methods and the process of creation, testing, prototyping and pitching a product. The knowledge gained could inspire kids into the pursuit of electoral or mechanical engineering, product design or entrepreneurship.
The website has hours of video from the show, behind the scenes footage and interviews with inventors and judges. The products are explained in detail, as well as many of the processes. Its a hands-on world with stellar examples of reality. The competition is taking applicants for the 2nd season now, deadline August 2016.
Many cities are now opening Maker Spaces which allow members to use equipment to build projects. Classes and often certifications are available to gain skills in welding, sculpting, and other material, hands-on techniques.
Development of Innovators
Choosing the best tools for the job, experimenting with a variety of materials, reverse engineering existing products and other processes develop innovators which we greatly need. Some Makers are hobbiest, some are developing new startups, some are students developing our future.