*This article was contributed by Courtney Hartnett*
Makerspace? Maker? Maker Movement? Huh?
Heard these words and don’t quite understand what this whole “make” thing is? If you’re behind the curve with the Maker Movement, here’s a quick rundown so you can join in on conversations about one of the hippest creative movements spreading across the nation.
Maker Movement: In January 2005, Dale Dougherty published the first Make magazine— a bimonthly magazine focusing on DIY projects ranging from traditional arts and crafts to furniture building to complex advanced robotics. The readership quickly grew into a community that valued “making” over buying, with an emphasis on creative exploration, learning through doing, and collaboration. One year later, the first Maker Faire was held to showcase the variety of projects created and to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself spirit. Each year, this grassroots movement has gained more and more momentum, spurring the opening of makerspaces and Maker Faires in many communities.
Makerspace: Sometimes referred to as design labs, hackerspaces, and tech shops, makerspaces, as the name suggests, are spaces people gather to make things. Make culture is all about the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and tools, and makerspaces, which are usually community-run, nonprofit organizations, embody these principles. A membership to a makerspace grants one access to usually an extensive (and expensive!) collection of tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and welders as well as fellow DIYers that share ideas, skill sets, and a passion for creative construction. Schools, museums, and libraries are opening up their own makerspaces in recognition of the value of learning through creative, exploratory making— the lingo is tinkering— and opening up accessibility to the materials and skills for a range of people that may otherwise not have the opportunity.
Maker: That can be you. Find a makerspace in your community at http://spaces.makerspace.com/makerspace-directory, or check out the The Technology Innovation Learning Environment at Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development. Learn more about the Maker community at http://makezine.com.