The Maker Movement

…one of the lasting impacts of the maker movement is to transform our education system, replacing a standardized curriculum and testing with learn-by-doing experiential learning.

Dale Dougherty

What is the Maker Movement?

“Making” is simply part of human nature. Humans have always invented and tinkered.
However, the fairly recent rise of the Maker Movement can be traced back to 2005 when MAKE magazine served as a catalyst for growing the maker community through events known as Maker Faires. This Maker Movement, named by Dale Dougherty, spurred the creation of a full-fledged industry based on the growing number of DIYers who want to build things rather than buy them.

Today we think of the maker culture as one that embraces grassroots innovation and is a technology-based extension of do-it-yourself (DIY) culture. In many ways, it is a social movement with an artisan spirit where the ease and accessibility of digital fabrication have made small-scale precision production possible.. The use of 3D printers has played a significant role in the growth of the Maker Movement, spurring new possibilities for innovative small-scale or individualized manufacturing.

One particularly appealing aspect of the Maker culture is its emphasis on learning-through-doing in a social environment. Makers typically carry out projects in informal, fun, networked, peer-led, shared learning environments. The use of social media to share knowledge, ideas, and projects is also customary within the Maker community.

Another exciting influence of the Maker Movement has been its effect on education and, specifically, making STEM (or STE(A) M where A stands for art) learning fun. Makers believe in a more participatory approach, thereby creating new, more inclusive avenues into topics and disciplines that would have otherwise seemed unattainable and irrelevant to many learners.

Who are Makers?

Makers are like-minded folks who love to design, build, and create. They are innovators with widely varied skill sets and interests that encompass everything from an amateur sewing to an industrial engineering. They are hobbyists, professionals, entrepreneurs and students alike. Now that the movement has progressed from grassroots fabrication to small-scale manufacturing, Makers have created their own market ecosystem that produces and sells products and services, most often locally. A knowledge-sharing approach that encourages the copying of designs and a hands-on trial and error learning culture is stressed.

FabLabs

As the maker culture expands, so has the demand for communal maker spaces. As a result, makerspaces, hackerspaces, innovation hubs and FabLabs are being built around the world. Today, there are 550+ FabLabs internationally and more are being built every day in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, China, Europe and the United States. In FabLabs like-minded individuals share ideas (both locally and virtually), tools and knowledge. People gather and collaborate, applying their skills to developing innovative local solutions to environmental, social and economic issues. While the United States only has one-third the number FabLabs as Europe, as the maker culture grows in popularity, they are becoming more common in universities, public libraries, community colleges, and K-12 schools.