I've been following the Maker Movement for about ten years now, and I am finally getting to do something I've dreamt of for a long time - run a Maker Camp! In just under two weeks from today we will launch the first-ever NCCE Maker Camp at Pack Forest in Eatonville, one of my favorite places. (We ran our Digital Photography Bootcamps there for five years.) We have over forty teachers from three states coming to join us for two days of exploring Making, and a whole team of great instructors covering topics such as Ozobots, Makey Makey, Design Thinking, Making with Low-Tech Materials, Arduino, BBC Microbit, WeDo LEGO Robotics, and more.
We've done Maker workshops before, but what I'm really looking forward to this time is the opportunity for participants to go more deeply into their exploration, and to have the time to reflect on what they've learned with their colleagues. One of the key aspects of why Making is so important right now is that if it is done right, it gives students the space to focus deeply on something for an extended period. I hear adults complain all the time that students can't pay attention, but then we run them through busy schedules that never allow the students time to practice being focused for very long. We want teachers to be able to experience what our kids should be experiencing.
We surveyed the participants, and it's exciting to see that many of them are using the camp to plan how they are going to implement Making back in their classrooms and schools. That's exactly what we want to see happen, because it doesn't mean much if the teachers don't have the opportunity and ability to take it back to the kids they teach. There's a swirl of important ideas wrapped up in the idea of Making in the classroom - the importance of tinkering and play, student agency, persistence, mindset, and so much more - that I can't wait for the great conversations around the campfire!