This June marks the anniversary of the first-ever White House Maker Faire http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire hosted by President Obama and featuring over 100 Makers from more than 25 states and included more than 30 exhibits representing an incredible range of creativity, problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking. Maker Faires and Makerspaces are part of a growing movement of hands-on, mentor-led learning environments to a remake the physical and digital worlds. They foster experimentation, invention, creation and exploration. The movement aligns with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative and his call to “think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering [and]...encourage young people to create and build and invent—to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.” (Obama, 2009)
The Maker Movement is evolving as a powerful self-directed learning zone in community centers, public and school libraries, universities, and K-12 classrooms. Their hands-on character coupled with the tools and raw materials that support invention, provide the ultimate workshop for the tinkerer and the perfect educational space for individuals who learn best by doing. Interaction among the makers fosters a highly collaborative environment that provides peer advice and support. Makers like to figure out how things are made, how to fix things, or how to use them in entirely new ways- they are non-linear thinkers, curious inventors and problems solvers.