World Maker Faire Workshop
This award supports a workshop to be held in conjunction with the 2010 World Maker Faire being hosted at the New York Hall of Science. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together the Maker community with formal and informal science and mathematics learning experts. The Maker movement is a recent phenomenon promoted by the Maker Media division of O'Reilly Media. There are currently three U.S. and one International Maker Faires, with attendance of about 30,000 each. The Faires consist of exhibits characterized as technology-rich and innovative and developed either by the exhibitor (Do-It-Yourself or DIY) or increasingly, as collaborative exhibits (Do-It-With-Others or DIWO). Participants visiting the Faires interact directly with the developer(s) and exhibits to learn the technology and engineering skills associated with designing and building their own products. The New York Hall of Science workshop will be co-chaired by Tom Kalil, Associate Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, and Dale Dougherty, Founder of the Maker Faires. It will have approximately 50 participants drawn from academe, business, non-profits, and state, local and federal government. Workshop attendees will observe and participate in the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science the day before the workshop. On the second day, attendees will then address the following questions: 1) How can the innovations of the Maker movement inform science and mathematics education?; 2) What collaborations between policy makers, education and learning science researchers, and the Maker Movement can best spur innovation in science and mathematics education?; 3) What funding opportunities are possible between the Maker community and the private, philanthropic, and government sectors for the support of transformative science and mathematics education and learning research? The workshop will result in a multimedia report that will propose answers to these questions. The report will inform the education and learning science research communities about opportunities for innovations in education and learning. The workshop is designed to broadly inform both policy and practice in STEM Education. The Maker/DIY/DIWO movement is focused on design and engineering. These processes are important in STEM disciplines. In particular, the movement has motivated thousands of individuals to voluntarily participate in building technology-based projects in a manner similar to the open source software movement. If this motivation can be broadly harnessed, it could transform STEM education through new knowledge of STEM learning science and education research. The broader impact of this workshop is situated in the large numbers of individuals already engaged in Maker/DIY/DIWO projects. If more STEM content can be married to these projects, then the impact to science learning and teaching could be substantial. Since many of the Maker Faire participants come from rural communities, there is an implicit promise that incorporating more STEM content into Faire projects could have the effect of broadening participation to an underrepresented community.