Keeping Students of all Ages in the Mix
The “Maker” Movement continues to gather strength in a “de-centralized,
grassroots” way, presenting an opportunity for people everywhere to come face-
to-face with innovation. It’s a “ripe space for companies and students to work
together,” said Blair Blackwell, Chevron’s Manager of Education and Corporate
Programs. Chevron has pledged $10 million to the Fab Foundation for 10 Fab
Labs to be built.
On November 12, Google+ Hangouts hosted an online discussion – “The Maker
Movement: Milestones and Momentum” – bringing together nine major players in
this arena to comment on collaborations between students, corporations,
communities and Fab Labs themselves.
Fab Foundation Director Sherry Lassiter was excited about the first Chevron-
funded Fab Lab, at California State University Bakersfield – a model for the rest
of the Chevron projects going forward. With any community collaboration, it’s
important to ask questions like “What are your goals?” and “How do you measure
Arizona State University practices “open fabrication and prototyping,” according
to Dr. Mitzi Montoya, Vice President & University Dean for Entrepreneurship &
Innovation at ASU. She explained that “open” labs mean open to the public on a
membership basis, and open for free to all ASU students. “Students from other
disciplines can participate in the maker movement.” Psychology students are in
the labs with engineering students.
The online Town Hall was moderated by Ted Wells, Chief Strategy Officer for
STEMconnector® – STEM being an acronym for the academic disciplines of
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and STEMconnector® going
on its third year providing tools and resources that support corporate
development and STEM investments.
Especially for STEM learning, “rote learning and memorization is not what kids
need,” said Sylvia Martinez, co-author of the book Invent to Learn. But it can’t
just be “hands on” like arts and crafts; it also has to be “heads in.”
The idea is to democratize access to knowledge and tools to improve lives.
TechShop provides member-based workshops so people of all skill levels can
come in and use industrial tools and equipment to build their own projects.
According to Carrie Motamedi, Vice President of Marketing for TechShop, this
has led to “accidental entrepreneurship”! A man living in a small San Francisco
apartment used TechShop to invent a project for himself – a foldable kayak.
People seeing the kayak convinced him to do crowdfunding – he raised $400,000
on the first day!
Giving students of all ages access to high-tech hands-on learning opportunities
continues to be a priority of the Maker Movement. Additionally, technology allows
for increased creativity and can promote the type of innovative thinking that will
help us solve the world’s great challenges.
Speakers and organizations (in order of appearance):
- STEMconnector® – Ted Wells, Chief Strategy Officer
- Chevron Corporation – Blair Blackwell, Manager, Education and Corporate Programs
- Fab Foundation – Sherry Lassiter, Director
- Invent to Learn – Sylvia Libow Martinez, Author
- Teach for America – Melissa Moritz, Vice President, Education Initiatives
- Maker Ed – Warren “Trey” Lathe, Executive Director
- Albemarle Public Schools – Chad Ratliff, Director of Instructional Programs
- Arizona State University – Dr. Mitzi Montoya, Vice President & University Dean for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- TechShop – Carrie Motamedi, Vice President of Marketing
“The Maker Movement: Milestones and Momentum” STEMconnector® Town Hall
Can be viewed here: http://www.stemconnector.org/townhall