My maker education journey started long time but without realising it, I’ve been involved in education for well over a decade delivering hands on and project based learning but had never come across Maker Education until 2014…
On a sleepless night towards the end of the 2014 Winter I was watching the late tech news and there was short piece about littleBits. What I saw, really amazed me and sparked me to investigate further of what I realised what going to be the future of education! The next day I ordered my first littleBits kit (I have half a dozen now!) and started to find out more what was this all about: what I found was just incredible! I read a lot about the MIT media lab, watched many related TED talks and more significantly bought a copy of the Invent to Learn book by Sylvia Martinez & Gary Stager, what a find! This book led me into many other incredible people and resources and to this day I considered this book the ‘bible’ of Maker Education.
Shortly after finishing the Invent to Learn book, my passion for Maker Education was fully ignited and set myself the objective of bringing this approach into UK schools and communities. I started touring Makerspaces/Fablabs/Hackspaces in London, visit Maker Faires and began establishing links with people involved in the maker movement.
I soon realised that the barriers of entry into Maker Education for most organisations were relatively high, so I started looking into mobile and pop up makerspaces: and that’s how I started to develop the Makercart project. A pop-up mobile makerspace with a 3d printer, digital cutter, electronics, micro-controllers and robotics for schools, libraries, and community groups. Supported by resources and a network of fellow maker educators.
I started building the first prototype or beta version and further developing my maker skills.
Firstly, I build my Printrbot Simple Metal 3d printer at the London Fablab in September 2014 and this got me started in the world of 3d printing. I followed this with an Arduino course at Makerversity in January 2015 with Massimo Banzi. And then acquired the rest of the equipment for the Makercart (Cameo digital cutter, more littleBits, Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey and a Ozobots) during the following months, sometimes using products backed in Kickstarter (such as Makeblock mBots).
Once the first version of the Makercart was done, it was time ‘get out of the building’ and see what people made of it. So, I attended a CITYLIS Libraries Unconference at City University in Spring 2015. The feedback was incredible and was lucky to meet some of the most interesting librarians in the country, who had started taking notice of the Maker Movement and Making in libraries, it was a moment of pure serendipity… (Until next week and part II)