Sebastopol, CA, May 17, 2012—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.
Maker Education Initiative's Advisory Board includes members who already play an important role in the development and implementation of Maker programs. Mark Greenlaw, Vice President of Sustainability & Educational Affairs and former CIO at Cognizant, Tony DeRose, Senior Scientist at Pixar Animation Studios, and Jane Werner, Director at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, all serve as thought leaders in the effort to increase hands-on learning experiences to learners of all ages. Tony DeRose, co-founder of the Young Makers program, will bring a wealth of experience to the organization as it develops the program in new regions across the country. Tony shares, "Over the past five years of working as a Young Maker mentor and organizer, I've witnessed first hand the transformative power of connecting kids to making. You can see their confidence grow, as well as their ability to learn on their own. They also learn to expect and to cope with setbacks as a natural part of making. These and other skills they learn through making are essential for their future careers, and the formation of the Maker Education Initiative will greatly expand the number of youth we can serve. I'm thrilled to be part of it."
Maker Education Initiative's founders include Cognizant, O'Reilly Media, and Intel. Cognizant's support for the Maker Education Initiative comes through it's Making the Future education program. "We are very proud to be a founding partner of the Maker Education Initiative, an organization that shares our passion to provide fun and interesting hands-on learning opportunities that will excite young learners in the STEM disciplines while, at the same time, improving 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and innovation," said Mark Greenlaw, who oversees Cognizant's Making the Future program. "Additionally, Maker activities appeal to both girls and boys across a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds, helping to close the achievement gap."
Intel's support for the Maker Education Initiative is an extension of the technology leader's commitment to education. Intel invests more than a $100 million a year in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs because a solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving are crucial to the success of the next generation of innovators. Research shows students become most inspired and dedicated to science and technology when they do real-world projects that have a meaningful impact. "We're proud to join Maker Education Initiative to help inspire the next generation of innovators. Learning by doing and making stuff is not only good for kids, it's also good for our country. These young innovators will usher in the next wave of economic growth for our country" said Carlos Contreras, U.S. Education Manager, Intel Corporate Affairs.
For more information about the Maker Education Initiative, see
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