On January 13th, 2012, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), in collaboration with O’Reilly Media will host a two-day workshop to explore the potential for the kinds of making, designing and engineering practices celebrated at Maker Faire to enrich science and math learning. The purpose of this workshop is to identify and aggregate successful programming strategies that increase student engagement and proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with a focus on students underrepresented in STEM careers. The meeting will be organized around three main ideas: catalyzing a national Maker movement; dissemination and scaling of design principles; and assessment of impacts on STEM learning and attitudes. The convening highlights the capacity of making activities to impact student motivation, attitudes and conceptual understanding in STEM in both informal and formal learning environments.
The workshop will be informed by the 2011 World Maker Faire at NYSCI, which was held on September 17 and 18. World Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-it-Yourself or DIY movement and brings together a broad community of professionals and laypersons with a common interest in technology-based creativity, tinkering and the reuse of materials and technology. The workshop extends the work of the previous Maker Faire workshop by identifying initiatives that bridge the Maker and STEM communities while building students’ foundational STEM knowledge and engaging audiences underrepresented in STEM careers. This workshop will accommodate approximately 50 local and national scientists, engineers, learning science researchers, educators, policymakers and philanthropists. Select participants will present detailed case studies of maker programs, design principles, assessments and measured outcomes in STEM attitudes and learning. Key elements of successful programs and assessment strategies will be identified across the case studies in brainstorming sessions and roundtable discussions. Following the workshop, a subset of the case studies will be compiled into an edited volume, indexed by the dimensions of student learning in the National Research Council publication, A Framework for K-12 STEM Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.
This project uses the momentum of the popular Maker Faire movement, based in design, engineering and technology concepts, to connect to STEM education while capitalizing on the strengths of informal learning environments. The workshop provides researchers, practitioners and policymakers with an aggregated collection of program design principles and reliable metrics for documenting changes in preK-20 STEM attitudes and learning. The edited volume has the potential to advance the understanding of how to bridge formal and informal learning environments, while also fostering research on the affective dimensions of making in diverse audiences.
Time Warner Cable was the lead funder for this event.