Reflections on our 3rd Maker Educator Convening

The 3rd Annual Maker Educator Convening took place on May 16-17, 2017, in San Francisco, with over 250 maker educators in attendance. To see an archive of all materials from the Convening, click here.
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When we first thought of putting together an annual “conference” for maker educators, we saw an opportunity to bring together our remote partners, invite new community members, and offer an in-person event that simultaneously addressed starter questions and facilitated deeper-level conversations that were starting to happen in our field. So, we gathered together at Intel’s offices in Santa Clara, CA in 2014 and considered what new, refined, and pie-in-the-sky possibilities we could all be creating together. That event, which we called the “Making Possibilities” workshop, set the stage for what’s developed in the years since.

We’re so pleased and thrilled that we’ve been able to continue offering maker educators a unique opportunity to connect in person, at an event focused on making and learning, and in May 2017, we hosted our 3rd annual Maker Educator Convening.

The stats from the Convening are fun and intriguing to review: over the course of 1.5 days, more than 250 educators from schools, districts, museums, libraries, non-profits, community colleges, and afterschool programs gathered for a whirlwind of workshops, demonstrations, and quick talks — led by more than 60+ close friends and partners — in beautiful San Francisco:

Convening Blog Graphic

Even more interesting are the content and context covered. People presented on a wide range of topics, including: Improving Student Agency, Authority, & Identity in K-8 Mathematics through Making; Engineering for Good; Authentic Inclusion and Hands-on Engagement; A Framework for Supporting Learning in Museum and Library Makerspaces; Does This Movement have a Compass?; Unconventional Resources: Creative Capacity Building; and more!

We also had an opportunity to host our first-ever Leadership Summit, gathering leaders and innovators in the maker education movement for a full day of brainstorming on the mission and movement of our growing community. In the upcoming months, we’ll be sharing what we discussed!

As part of the opening reception on Tuesday evening, we also had an opportunity to celebrate Maker Ed’s 5th anniversary!

Maker Ed 5-year Impact-02

It’s been a fast 5 years — the maker movement has taken big steps and made dramatic shifts, and even now, continues to evolve within the wider educational arena. We remain in awe of the passion that our educator partners bring to their work, the collaboration and possibilities that bubble up from such a vibrant community, and especially the emphasis on mindset development, access, and skills that maker-centered learning enables for all youth. Today, we are more committed than ever to supporting maker education as a field — to push the boundaries, to guide the conversation, to ask tough questions. We delight in the fact that every makerspace or maker program looks different, and that there’s beauty, logic, and agency in that difference. 

We were so happy to hear from so many of you about all the ways in which the Convening has enriched and expanded your work & worldview. We are equally as excited about incorporating your suggestions on how to improve the Convening, to make it a more helpful and enjoyable learning experience for 2018’s attendees. In the next 5 years, we look forward to making even more possibilities with all of you!

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Our work grows with our partners, and we continue to trust in the organizations and educators that we work with. Maker Ed’s efforts are organization-centered and educator-centered, just as our educators’ work is youth-centered. This effort was generously supported in particular by Chevron, Autodesk, Intel, Makey Makey, micro:bit, Galileo Camps, and Sonoma State University’s Maker Certificate Program, all of whom have been integral parts and sparks for our community and work overall.

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