June 08, 2012, by AnnMarie Thomas
The Maker Education Initiative is dedicated to the idea that every child can become a maker, given the opportunity. The Maker Education Initiative was established to help children and teens engage in making as a form of learning that can spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts. One goal of the Maker Education Initiative is to help build connections between communities that want to get more kids involved in making and the resources and people that they need to get their programs going or expand their current work. Thus, we are incredibly excited to share the first project that we are working on: Maker Corps. As explained by Dale Dougherty, founder of Make: and of the Maker Education Initiative, “Maker Corps will create teams of young makers who can share their enthusiasm for making and their love of learning with younger children and teens, offering support and encouragement that helps introduce them to science and technology in a personal way.”
Maker Corps will recruit and prepare young adults who are makers to serve as mentors and peers in a variety of settings within their communities. As young makers themselves, Maker Corps members bring their own enthusiasm and knowledge about how to learn by doing. They will be trained to engage children in creative projects that develop problem-solving skills in ways that make science and technology fun. Maker Corps members will gain the experience of serving as a community leader. The Maker Education Initiative will build an online community for Maker Corps where members can meet other members, find more projects to do with kids and share their own experiences in Maker Corps.
The summer of 2012 is being spent developing the training program for Maker Corps and working with youth serving organizations to identify projects that would benefit from Maker Corps members. The first cohort of Maker Corps members will go to projects in the summer of 2013.
How can you get involved?
Expanding the role of making in children’s lives is going to take all of us! Parents, teachers, makers, formal and informal learning organizations, and communities as a whole have a part to play in this endeavor. Similarly, the Maker Corps has roles for all of us!
Youth-serving organizations If you are a youth-serving organization (a school, a makerspace, a museum, a library, a camp, or any other organization that works with kids) and would like to talk to us about hosting a Maker Corps team in the summer of 2013 or beyond, please contact us!
Makers (18-22 years old) For the first cohort of Corps Members, who will start projects next summer, we will be inviting applications from college-age makers ages 18-22. These will be paid summer positions. Application materials will be posted later this fall, and we look forward to sharing more details over the next few months.
Makers (ages other than 18-22 years old) While the first call for corps members is targeting young adults, that doesn’t mean we don’t need you too! Maker Corps projects are intended to involve members throughout the communities that they are in. Thus we are asking you, makers in cities that will be hosting projects, to help your cities’ makers! We are also looking for makers and educators to serve as mentors (online and in person) for Maker Corps members. Opportunities for corps members of all ages will be opening up over the next few years.
Supporters Do you have an idea for how you, a group you are involved in, your company, or your hacker/makerspace could work with Maker Corps? Let us know! Maker Corps is a community effort and we look forward to many collaborations.
We at the Maker Education Initiative are incredibly grateful to the founding sponsors who are making work like this possible: Cognizant, Intel, Pixar, and Make:/O’Reilly Media. Additionally, we are excited about the organizations who are planning on partnering with us for Maker Corps: the New York Hall of Science, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Exploratorium, the Henry Ford, and Science City at Union Station Kansas City. We look forward to adding to this list!
I can be reached at annmarie@MakerEd.org, and look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions for Maker Corps!