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Do you learn better through a hands on making process? Share something that you have made recently. What have you always wanted to learn to make?
For several years now, the practice of making things has really turned into a cultural phenomenon. Referred to as Maker Culture or the DIY Movement, self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert (aka do-it-yourself), usually involving technology and online sharing has truly exploded around us, especially in the Bay Area. Why is this happening? Brit Morin, Founder and CEO of Brit + Co., jabs at the origins of this revival in a recent Huff Post article claiming that, "most people my age (AKA millennials) probably had two busy, working parents while growing up (and therefore likely did not get a deep education on many of these skills) and you'll realize why we are all now flocking to do-it-yourself (DIY) websites and apps that will teach us the cooking, crafting and making skills that many of us missed out on in our youth and which now are so important as we build homes and start families."
In her article, Morin goes into a more extensive definition of "DIY" or "Maker," identifying its relationship to "how-to" content, including things like "how to change a tire." Over the past couple of years, though, it's been used more broadly to describe any activity that incorporates creative skills to make or design something on your own. Using this definition, DIY can stand for everything from baking a cake, to decorating a bedroom, to creating handmade products like jewelry. Some also use DIY in a more technical context as it relates to making gadgets like robots, printers and other programmable devices hacked together using free software and tools found across the web.
Maker culture is now shifting into the education arena where instructors are implementing project-based and self-directed learning models for students to problem solve and discover learning moments throughout their inquiry process. Gever Tulley founded Tinkering School in 2005 in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything.
Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make Magazine — and the de factor leader of the Maker Movement — has a vision to create a network of libraries, museums, and schools with what he calls “makerspaces” that draw on common resources and experts in each community. Libraries and museums, he said, are easier places to incorporate makerspaces than schools, because they have more space flexibility and they’re trying to attract teens with their programs.