The Maker Movement and its Impact on Education
Thanks to the Maker Movement, maker spaces have made their way back into schools and educational institutions. We at Digital Playhouse want to introduce children to this movement that allows them to not only learn, but learn by doing.
You’ve heard of “DIY”. Making, or the act of being a “maker”, is essentially the same thing. Back in the past we used to learn to make all sorts of things. We would learn things like cooking, sewing, cleaning, and even knitting. On the other side, we would also have classes like wood working. These classes slowly disappeared from the school curriculums. But now, in the age of STEAM Education, we can see that creating things is essential to the development of a child’s brain, as well as life skills.
What is the Maker Movement?
The Maker Movement is the evolution of people who are starting to see the benefit in starting businesses and spaces dedicated to creating and selling self-made products. What’s even better news is that modern technology has made it easier than ever for people to create and distribute things products that are unique without having to go to mass manufacturers. This article in Adweek defines it best:
“The maker movement, as we know, is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. A convergence of computer hackers and traditional artisans, the niche is established enough to have its own magazine, Make, as well as hands-on Maker Faires that are catnip for DIYers who used to toil in solitude. Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design and powerful personal technology like 3-D printers. The creations, born in cluttered local workshops and bedroom offices, stir the imaginations of consumers numbed by generic, mass-produced, made-in–China merchandise.” (Voight 2014)
The Maker Movement in Education
We’re bringing it back! Schools are seeing the value of the Maker Movement as STEM Education is slowly incorporating the A to transition to STEAM Education. They’re ‘making’ spaces for maker activities. Students are learning to work with tools both classic and modern in these spaces. People are jumping on the bandwagon in a manner of speaking. The motivation behind it could be financial or it could be in the pure interest of improving education and learning for all, but whatever the motivation the Maker Movement is making waves. Anything that’s good for improving the mental, let alone physical, development of our children is good. Time will tell how much of an impact the Maker Movement will have on education reform, but the short-term story is one of success.
How is Digital Playhouse involved in the Maker Movement?
We believe that children should learn by doing, and that the Maker Movement is allowing them this opportunity. We enable our students to learn how to do things outside the box, and not only be the end users, but the innovators and creators. We do this by combining technology and creativity. We teach robotics, but not just the coding of robots. We let them explore creative thinking by allowing them to create their own parts, designs, and mechanics. Then they’ll combine this with their robots which they will then code. We believe this incorporates all the important aspects of STEAM Education and the development of their Digital Quotient, or Digital Intelligence. By doing this, we give children a blank canvas, so to speak, to come up with ideas before we even begin to teach them about robotics. The reason being, once they start to learn and master the concepts of robotics, it will create limitations in their mind.
The time to start expanding the creativity of children is now. The world is ever changing and they need to be able to adapt to it. Schools in Thailand have started to see the value of maker spaces. We’re here to give them the best possible chance to not fall behind. The Maker Movement has gathered momentum internationally, Thailand won’t be far behind. Allowing children to learn and develop their skills with the combination of innovative technologies like the micro:bit and 3D printing will give them the chance to learn the essentials of engineering, hardware technology, industrial design, and manufacturing. Who knows? The child who learns to design, build, and code a small robot today, might become the next creator of our next great space station.
Bajarin, Tim. “Maker Faire: Why the Maker Movement Is Important to America’s Future.” Time, Time, 19 May 2014, https://time.com/104210/maker-faire-maker-movement/.
Voight, Joan. “Which Big Brands Are Courting the Maker Movement, and Why.” Adweek, Adweek, 17 Mar. 2014, https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/which-big-brands-are-courting-maker-movement-and-why-156315/.