Spotlight on Maker Ed: Making a Successful Tides Project

There has been a lot of attention on teaching American kids about science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on learning- attention that goes all the way to the top. President Obama launched an “educate to innovate” campaign to help move American students to the top of the pack in science and math achievement.  And one of Tides' fiscally sponsored projects, Maker Ed, has used this momentum to make significant gains in just two short years.

Let's have them tell their story:

In May 2012, with the vision of Dale Dougherty––leader of the Maker Movement, CEO of Maker Media, creator of Make: Magazine and Maker Faire––with the support of sponsors like Maker Media, Cognizant, Intel, and Pixar Animation Studios, and with the fiscal sponsorship of Tides, the Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) was born.

The mission of this newly-minted organization? To create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making.

And just how would we achieve this? By connecting educators with the resources and support they need to to facilitate meaningful making experiences. By helping organizations build their capacity to engage youth in making in formal and informal educational environments. And by equipping communities to lead and advocate for youth of all backgrounds to access making opportunities.

Maker Ed has come a long way since its inception, and even though our team is small, our impact has been large. In recent months, we’ve accomplished the following:

 

·   We took part in not one, but two amazing events at the White House –– the White House Science Fair & the White House Maker Faire.

·   Our interim executive director recently shared a stage with President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference to announce incredible progress on Maker Corps, our flagship program.

·   We’ve expanded our Maker VISTA program to include 5 new AmeriCorps VISTA sites nationwide in Detroit, MI; Pittsburgh, PA; Baltimore, MD; Miami, FL; and San Antonio, TX.

·   We presented the very first Making Possibilities Workshop for 100 educators on May 15 (and it was a great success!)

·   We traveled down to the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, where we facilitated the Ed Cafe & managed the Young Makers exhibitions.

·   Our Open Portfolio Project just launched into its second phase, having recently distributed a Maker Site Survey to better understand how sites and youth are currently documenting their work.

 

Amidst all this excitement, we’re so proud to be doing the work that we’re doing and we can’t wait for what’s to come. Here’s a little sneak peek into Maker Ed’s future:

·   We’re working on a new campaign to expand and create a nationwide network of makerspaces. Learn more here.

·   We’re growing our new Google+ community for maker educators. Join the conversation here.

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