The Maker Education Initiative will create the Maker Corps Program to address the need for personalized support and expertise for maker-oriented summer and after school programs.
Maker Corps will recruit and prepare college-age teens to serve as mentors and peers in a variety of community settings, which will also provide valuable full-time jobs in the summer and part-time jobs during the school year. As young makers themselves, Maker Corps members bring their own enthusiasm and knowledge about how to learn by doing. They will be trained to engage children in creative projects that develop problem-solving skills in ways that make science and technology fun. Like camp counselors, they will gain the experience of serving as a community leader. Maker Education Initiative will build an online community for Maker Corps where members can meet other members, find more projects to do with kids and share their own experiences in Maker Corps.
Maker Corps will build a national network of partners such as science centers or children's museums, identifying existing organizations that reach the underserved children of the community. Targeted partners include the New York Hall of Science; Pittsburgh Children's Museum; Houston Children's Museum; and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Each partner will oversee two Maker Corps members and manage their placements in and around the community. Maker Corps members are expected to be deployed in pairs to work together with groups of children and to work in multiple settings. Each Maker Corps member will be provided with a Make Field Kit that includes basic hand tools plus electronics components and other materials for a number of creative projects that might include solar chargers, small robots and electronic music. Ideally, Maker Corps members will live or attend school in the city where they are serving, thus encouraging the creation of relationships in the community that will last beyond the summer commitment to Maker Corps.
Maker Corps not only creates new opportunities for children to develop 21st Century learning skills, but it also expands the capacity of organizations to reach underserved children in meaningful ways. Each Maker Corp member can reach up to 100 children in summer or semester-long service period, multiplying the impact of the resources spent on training and supplies.
In the summer of 2012, Maker Education Initiative will develop the recruitment and selection criteria, along with identifying the online tools needed for review and training of corps members in the program. In the fall, Maker Corps will establish partnerships with 20 partners located throughout the United States. Already, Maker Education Initiative has identified ten partners in ten major cities across the country. By the end of year one, 20 cities/partners will be identified. By the end of the three year commitment, Maker Education Initiative expects to facilitate one partnership in each state totaling 50. Each partner will be required to deliver a plan for its Maker Corps members, as well as identifying workspaces at their venue and in the community. Each partner will have a Maker Corps Coordinator who will be a staff member of the local organization as well as serve as a team member of the Maker Education Initiative.
In the Winter of 2012/13, Maker Corps will accept applications from college students ages 18-20 and select 100 participants by Spring 2013. Maker Corps will provide online training workshops to corps members to prepare them in advance for their summer assignments. In the Summer of 2013, 100 Corps members will be placed in the partner organizations and each will receive a Make Field Kit. Each Maker Corps member will reach at least 100 students in a mix of settings, allowing the program to impact over 10,000 individuals in its first year.
Each team of Maker Corps members will work together to create a documentary video that showcases their summer work and highlight the projects created by the children they supported and the evidence of learning they saw. The local Maker Corps Coordinator will work with the Maker Corps team to create the video and post it to the Maker Corps website. The coordinator will also be responsible for using an evaluation rubric developed by the Maker Education Initiative to assess the performance of each Maker Corps member at the end of the program.
Based on positive evaluations and availability of assignments, Maker Corps members can continue working during the school year in local after-school programs or in-school assignments. The local coordinator will continue to build a community network of families, educators, youth development program directors, and institutions with resources to nurture young makers.
300 Corps members will be placed in 30 partner organizations serving will be approximately 30,000 youth.
1000 Corps members will be placed in 50 partner organizations across the country serving approximately 100,000 youth.
Meaningful hands-on experiences and encouragement from peers are two key drivers for students who choose to pursue careers in STEM fields. Making -- tinkering, designing, building, playing in a social context - can provide both those things. In addition, when children get the chance to develop projects based on their own interests, they are motivated to participate at a deeper level and the experience stays with them even longer.
There's a worldwide maker movement, a growing community that combines creative ideas and technical skills to develop and share interdisciplinary projects online and at events such as Maker Faire. Children want to engage in making activities and become makers themselves but they often lack access to tools, materials and expertise to be able to do it. The Maker Education Initiative is dedicated to the idea that every child can become a maker given the opportunity. The Maker Education Initiative was established to help children and teens engage in making as engaging form of learning that can spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.
Increasingly a number of organizations are building makerspaces offering children access to tools and materials. For example, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh recently opened MakeShop and it is working with others to create spaces throughout the community. One challenge, however, is to develop leaders who can act as peer role models and mentors in these spaces, organizing a safe, creative environment while providing the personal and social support necessary for each child to have rich, learning experiences.
Maker Ed has had excellent success in meeting its mission of creating more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole. This mission has been achieved by working with and supporting schools and organizations in bringing making to their programs.
As Maker Ed worked toward supporting and empowering educators and communities, particularly, those in underserved areas, to facilitate meaningful making and learning experiences with youth, the organization has remained appreciative of connections to partnerships, funding and community.
Maker Corps is a professional development program that combines online training with hands-on practice to create and provide maker education programming within youth-serving organizations.
Maker Corps works with its partner organizations and their Maker Corps Members throughout the spring and the summer, bringing them together through an online community and providing them with online training and support to create hands-on and community-specific making programming.
Program goals include providing support and training to partner organizations to establish and develop making program, and expanding and diversifying the network and community of maker educators.
Available resources for interested organizations Maker Ed's Resource Library (http://makered.org/resources/), the Youth Makerspace Playbook and other literature (http://makered.org/makerspaces/).