Jun 20 2016

K–12 Maker Initiative Captures the Spotlight at the National Maker Faire

Between hands-on workshops, faire attendees learned how one Virginia school district brought makerspaces to all 26 of its schools.

Tinkerers, makers and inventors from across the country descended on Washington, D.C., for the second annual National Maker Faire this weekend.

The two-day event, held at the University of the District of Columbia, came as part of the White House’s National Week of Making celebration, which runs from June 17 to 23.

Faire attendees watched demonstrations from makers of all ages, tried their hands at tinkering during interactive workshops, and listened to presentations from celebrities, entrepreneurs, winners of the White House’s Champions of Change awards and education thought leaders.

One such speaker included Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va., who spoke Sunday about her experiences with the Maker movement in a talk titled #Getting2Yes: Making Makers in Albemarle Schools.

Moran’s innovative district prioritizes hands-on learning by following a “maker-infused curricula” in all 26 of its schools. She described the basic thinking behind the program in an earlier interview with Edutopia:

"What we try to do is give the kids tools," says Moran, "and that can be as simple as cardboard or as sophisticated as 3D printers and music production studios, and basically say, 'Let's turn people loose and unleash the potential to make.' And so for me, it's not about the cardboard or the glue gun. When kids become agents of their own learning, when they embrace their own learning, when they own their future, that for me is giving kids a lifetime of learning that will carry them through job after job, through learning experience after learning experience, into the workforce, past the end of post-secondary education, into their homes, into their communities — it's all important."

Watch the Edutopia video below to learn more about the Maker program at Albemarle schools, and then head to the Maker Faire resources page for help in bringing an actual maker faire to your school.

Kevin Jarrett/Flickr

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