SAN MATEO, CA –At Maker Faire Bay Area, Dale Dougherty, founding Editor and publisher of MAKE and Maker Faire at O’Reilly Media, Inc., will launch the Maker Education Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to the idea that every child is a maker. With support from its founding corporate sponsors, Cognizant, Intel, and O’Reilly, the Maker Education Initiative will work with community partners on a national level to develop places and programs that provide hands-on learning experiences for children and teens.
In its 7th year in the Bay Area, Maker Faire demonstrates the power and popularity of making, particularly among families and children. The amazing creativity and technical wizardry that can be found at Maker Faire inspires us to become makers. Nonetheless, outside of Maker Faire, there are few places where children have the opportunity to create, build and make. “We want to change that,” said Dale Dougherty, who has been honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.” “We believe making provides rich, authentic learning experiences that are also fun. Such experiences promote creativity and develop problem solving skills while helping to establish a lifelong interest in science and technology. Becoming a maker can be life-changing for a child.”
The Maker Education Initiative welcomes AnnMarie Thomas, Ph.D., an engineering educator and maker, as its Executive Director. “I’m very excited to have AnnMarie Thomas lead this organization and help us create more makers,” said Dougherty. Dr. Thomas shares, “Making can give children the tools, confidence and skills to make their dreams and ideas tangible, and to realize that they can change the world around them. The Maker Education Initiative will allow us to work together to give more children this opportunity.
The Maker Education Initiative is responding to President Obama’s call to action, to inspire girls and boys to excel in math and science. Further, House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas), said that “inspiring our children to become more interested in the STEM fields … is the key to unlocking our future economic and innovative potential.” The Maker Education Initiative will deploy a trained force of mentors and coaches into formal and informal educational settings as well as leverage educational efforts within the maker community. “Making belongs in schools and it belongs in science centers, museums and community centers.” said Dougherty. The Maker Education Initiative will expand key programs across the country, mainly, the Young Makers Program, which is 300 members strong in the Bay Area and has developed a 70-page Maker Club Playbook to help parents, teachers, and community organizers start clubs. Next, the Making the Future Program will introduce the Do It Yourself (DIY) mindset into afterschool settings and summer camps along with a recognition program and an online digital portfolio. These and other exciting projects will be developed by the Maker Education Initiative, to deliver a sustainable infrastructure, technical expertise, shared resources, materials and curriculum to communities across the nation.
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