The Maker Spirit is Alive in Portland ( at #ipdx14 )

“It’s much cheaper to buy a solution to your problem, than make a solution to your problem.”
When we started believing this as a society, we moved away from “Do It Yourself” to just “buy and replace.” That practice has had a huge impact on pedagogy. Have we stopped valuing the time students spend thinking creatively? Is it worth classroom time or should students figure out how to fix and make on their own time? Not according to Mark Frauenfelder, the founding editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine and keynote speaker at IntegratED – Portland, Oregon’s top EdTech and innovation conference.

This year, the maker movement has come to Portland in full force and tonight Mark Frauenfelder spearheaded the conversation with a insightful retrospective on how making has evolved. If you look back to the Popular Mechanics issues of the 1950s they really don’t look that different than today’s issues of Make Magazine. But somewhere between then and now, we lost our maker spirit.

In the late 70s, it started to become easier and cheaper to just buy new, rather than fix what you have. “Do it yourself” became much less mainstream – and much more of a subculture. Fortunately, the huge use of the internet over the past twenty years has done two things to truly create the current modern maker movement:

  1. It allowed for sharing of what people made

  2. More importantly, it allowed for the sharing of the tools and skills they use to create- and now basically anyone can make anything.

School should not just be about filling in the right answer for the test question. Students need to engage in meaningful projects together, problem solve, think creatively. There really isn’t anything more fulfilling in life than inventing something or solving a problem successfully. Students need to feel that in their classrooms and take that feeling with them. By utilizing technology, teachers can provide that learning experience for students now more easily than they ever could before.
Great educators here in Portland are getting excited and ready to kick off their next two days of learning together- definitely feeling moved by the maker spirit.














Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson is a Media Specialist at The Madeleine School.

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