Every kid a maker?!
Recently, I visited a makers’ festival in Barcelona, WeMake. There were some really inspiring things, especially some nice activities for children like this “bionic hand” workshop that my kids loved.
The festival was composed by a bunch of stands on a Barcelona Eixample street, however, it felt a bit “marginal”, attracting mostly people who are already into it (and debated on the pros and cons of different 3D-printer models) rather than the general public.
“Making” comes in a lot of forms: the trendy topics are those related to new, accessible technologies like 3D printing, robotics, wearables. But, rightly so, it also comprises all sort of traditional forms like tinkering with mechanics, cardboard, wood or clay, or cooking for that matter.
I believe it’s urgent for education, both formal and informal, to bring back a good dose of making in teaching multiple disciplines, not just in plastic arts. Unfortunately, “making” seems somehow associated to lower-level, non-academic skills training.
Making is highly beneficial for education and lifelong learning: Thinking by doing fosters curiosity, willingness to take risks, persistence, collaboration…It brings abstract ideas to life, if only in form of a “low-fi”, rapid prototype, or a really functional object. As we all can observe, small children are natural makers and tinkerers, while most adults have lost the ability or at best channelled it into a single profession or hobby (and I include myself…), and with it, their creative confidence.
How can we bring more “making” into education to foster creative confidence? How can we federate nice existing initiatives in this space for more impact?