Library floats “makerspace'' concept Boston.com Watertown officials are asking for public feedback on the proposed creation of a “Makerspace,” or a workshop intended for those who do activities with their hands like woodworking, sewing, and...
I’ve spent four weeks now preparing and attempting to print an object on a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer. I haven’t been able to convince the printer to connect with my laptop, let alone print something, so it was starting to feel like an impossible task. I badly needed some inspiration.
While I’ve been working with the Thing-O-Matic, which is an older MakerBot printer that dates to 2010, another 3D printing relic has been staring me down. Noisebridge owns a RepRap: the do-it-yourself printer that started the hobby 3D printer movement back in 2005.
Noisebridge’s particular model is a Prusa Mendel, which was first invented in 2010. RepRap isn’t a company; it’s an open-source movement. That means you have to build one yourself (or buy a completed machine from someone else).
Over four weeks at Noisebridge, I saw the machine transform from broken to tenuously working to working. Progress was marked in the bits of discarded electronics and plastic scraps I found at the 3D printer stand each week. A friend advised me that the RepRap guru responsible for fixing the machine was making appearances at 3D Thursdays, Noisebridge’s weekly meeting for people interested in 3D printing and related technologies.
RepRaps are very technical machines. After my failures with the Thing-O-Matic, it didn’t sound like a good idea to dive into something even more complex without the right training. I found the guru this Thursday and we got to work right away on a print job. His plan is to rebuild the Prusa into a Mendel90, which is an easier-to-use RepRap. All of the controls will be browser-based, negating the need for complicated software.
RepRaps were born out of a very interesting goal: creating a machine that can replicate itself. They’re not there yet, but they draw closer all the time. The Prusa has a number of 3D printed parts, including pieces that secure its metal rods together and a gear that controls the extrusion of filament. We decided to print a few of the pieces it needs to be upgraded to a Mendel90.
Makerspace lets kids play with power tools to encourage creativity and confidence Wired.co.uk In Toronto, three-year-olds are using power drills, soldering irons and saws in the world's only makerspace for kids.
We often get parents and teachers asking us if we can point to studies that prove that making is a good approach in the classroom. This question usually gets asked by advocates for Makerspaces who know from their own experience how effective student-driven, interdisciplinary projects can be, based on what they’ve seen in their own homes and classrooms. We’re delighted to report that a number of research teams have approached us, especially recently, to ask if they can study what’s happening with Maker Faire, Young Makers, and Makerspaces, to put some real data behind our hunch that this is the way to go in education.
KQED’s MindShift blog recently reported on a project undertaken by a team working with Project Zero:
Harvard Wants to Know: How Does the Act of Making Shape Kids’ Brains?
We’ve been meeting with some of the team members who are making this work happen.
Lee Martin of the School of Education of the University of California, Davis recently received a grant from the Spencer Foundation to study “Adaptive Expertise in “Do-It-Yourself” Engineering Design Projects” and he’ll be observing some of the kids preparing to exhibit at Maker Faire 2013 for his data. Martin seeks to “measure the core STEM attributes of resourcefulness, perseverance, and the ability to learn and innovate in novel contexts, which researchers call “adaptive expertise: efficient problem-solving skills combined with the ability to adapt and learn in the face of novel problems.”
LA Weekly (blog) 1450 Ocean: Santa Monica Senior Center Becomes a Hip Maker Space LA Weekly (blog) If that doesn't frighten you away, you might have what it takes to wire up the circuit board that will take you on an electronic treasure hunt...
"Makerspaces, STEAM labs and fab labs are popping up in schools across the country. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering."
"The Maker movement continues to gain momentum. At this year's White House Science Fair, President Obama invited Super-Awesome Sylvia from Auburn, California to exhibit her water color robot as a representative of the Maker community. At the same event, the Corporation for National Service announced its commitment to place Americorps VISTAs in Maker movement organizations across the country. Maker Ed is placing those Maker VISTAs in makerspaces to help build their capacity for engaging low-income students as makers. In this spirit, we are starting to see more and more makerspaces springing up in schools across the country. If you are a teacher experimenting with making projects in your classroom, here are some successful fundraising strategies we've seen educators use to fund a makerspace for their school community."
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