Last month, I wrote about some of the things we had learned traveling the state with maker professional development.
This month, I’d like to focus in on one finding in particular: the relative lack of awareness of Make magazine and the ensuing implications in rural and underserved communities.
Partway through the summer, we changed our summative activity that the end of the three-day workshop. Our colleague Amber created a blank parody cover of Make magazine called Made, and we invited participants to imagine that Made was going to create a special issue focused solely on their makerspace. They were asked to provide the cover headlines that would relate to the vision they had worked on during the workshop.
And that’s where things got interesting. Overwhelmingly, only one or two attendees had ever heard of Make magazine.
So what are the implications of this? What does making look like when the flagship publication isn’t a reference point?
Our observations are that without that supposedly canonical reference point, making in libraries and K-12 schools (our two primary audiences) tends to be:
- the STEM tinkering model of commercial kits, not raw materials put to work to create a personal vision
- more focus on soft skills
- less focus on drones and more integration of stereotypically female activities like sewing, quilting, and knitting
- more focused on low-cost activities that can scale up for groups rather than individual activities that cost $50+
- less focused on Arduino and professional-grade coding
Do you notice anything similar in your space?
cross-posted to the Active Learning blog