Teachers who love hands-on learning and the DIY movement are a match made in heaven -- and nowhere is this better represented than the Maker Faire. I'm lucky enough to have participated in this event three times, as both a visitor and a maker, and it's still challenging to describe this celebration of people-powered technology, art, science and ingenuity, where you are as likely to encounter fire-breathing robots as you are fluffy electric cupcake cars. Since 2006, Maker Faires have been held annually in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there have been Maker Faires in Austin, Detroit and New York, with community-organized Mini Maker Faires sprouting up around the country. And the 7th annual Bay Area Maker Faire is this weekend, May 19th and 20th -- get tickets now!
Whether you can experience a Maker Faire in person or not, you can certainly take inspiration from the boundless enthusiasm and creative risk-taking of everyone who participates -- and don't forget to be a maker yourself. Here are some videos to inspire you.
Education at the Maker Faire
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Education Day at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 (01:18)
The Thursday before the faire weekend is reserved for educators to preview all the good stuff. Here's an overview video from last year's Education Day.
- The Viper Promo (02:46)
Your jaw will drop at the sheer ambition of the project these teens are doing for Maker Faire 2012 - a flight simulator based on Battlestar Galactica!
- Robots and Rockets: A Tour of Maker Faire (03:59)
Mashable gives us a great look at all the things to do and see at Maker Faire 2010 with this guided video tour.
- Making more 'makers' (05:41)
Part of CNN's Next List show on Dale Dougherty -- Dale explains his idea for getting kids hands-on access to tech and tools with "Makerspaces."
- Maker Faire 2010 (02:28)
A few random moments from the Maker Faire in EXTREME slow motion. Need I say more?
- Wheelchair Based DJ Station: RAMPs (02:12)
This project exemplifies the creative ingenuity you see all over the Maker Faire -- a wheelchair-controlled DJ station.
- Make Podcast: Children Making Stuff at Maker Faire (03:41)
A down-home video from the very first Maker Faire in 2006, with an exuberant Dale interviewing kids about what they are making.
- Dale Dougherty: We are makers (11:48)
Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty's inspirational TED Talk gives some insight about why we should all call ourselves makers.
More Ways to Celebrate DIY Education Year-Round
There are plenty of ways to bring the spirit of the Maker Faire into your classroom or community. As Make Magazine and Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty says, all of us are makers!
- Like Maker Faire on Facebook.
- Follow #MakerEducation on Twitter.
- Order a special copy of the Make: School's Out! Summer Fun Guide to share with your students -- keep them engaged all summer long.
- Subscribe to Make Magazine, the publication the Maker Faire was born from.
- Check out "Maker movement inspires students, teachers," an article from the San Francisco Chronicle by Betsy Corcoran of EdSurge.
- "School for Hackers," is a great piece from The Atlantic by Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of Make Magazine.
- Find a Mini Maker Faire close to you to attend.
- Don't see one? The Maker Faire website offers a comprehensive planning guide for organizing your own Mini Maker Faire locally.
- For younger students, check out the Young Makers program, a nonprofit started by Maker Faire, the Exploratorium, and a researcher at Pixar.
- Go straight to their handy resources and guidelines for creating a Makers Club at your school.
- High school teachers will want to explore the ideas at MakerSpace, a new initiative to create physical workspaces in schools where students can experience hands-on learning.
- Download a PDF of the Makerspace Playbook to learn more.