An Educator and “Make Evangelist” Reflects on the Movement

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Jen Wyld has been a friend of the Science Factory for many years, and a friend of the Eugene Mini Maker Faire since its inception. You may have seen her at our previous Faires hosting tables on crocheting and felting (that’s her above, on the left). Or you could have caught her at last year’s Maker Faire Bay Area presenting on Montessori schools. Jen is a PhD student in the Free Choice Learning program at Oregon State University. She is also on the board of directors at MECCA, a great community resource for Eugene makers. Needless to say, we were quite interested when Jen posted some thoughts on the maker movement, and her role in it, on the Free Choice Learning Lab blog.

In her first post, Jen reveals that she is a “Make evangelist,” but does not consider herself a “Maker” in the sense that many people use it today. She does not play with electronics, 3D printers, Arduino, or other high-tech tools and toys associated with hackerspaces. (For the most part, neither do I!) I think, however, that by taking a step back to look at the whole arena of making, beyond the hot new technologies, Jen could easily claim the title of “maker.”

It may be that cutting-edge technologies like 3D printers are grabbing the headlines, but the Maker Movement depends on both old and new technologies to succeed. From what I have seen, Maker Faire has always been a celebration of all forms of human creativity and ingenuity — whether with the latest high-tech equipment or with tools as old as civilization. It’s the reason that the Eugene Mini Maker Faire has featured shoemaking and woodworking (and felting!). Some of the best Maker projects actually unite old and new technologies — like Arduino and model railroading.

In her second post, Jen highlights the many facets of the Maker Movement that make it so exciting for the world of education. Most importantly, she points out that the Maker Movement offers the chance for everyone “to become more active as producers, as well as consumers of technology.” I couldn’t agree more!

We love to hear what people in the community think about Maker Faires and the Maker Movement. Share your thoughts with us below, or get in touch by e-mail.

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