Make-To-Learn Symposium, and an opportunity for Young Makers

By AnnMarie Thomas



Earlier this month, the Maker Education Initiative was a proud partner in the Make-to-Learn symposium, part of the Make-to-Learn thematic initiative of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine and supported by the MacArthur Foundation. It was a wonderful day aimed at educators, researchers, and makers to talk about the role of making in educational practice! Additionally, as it was held the day before Digital Media and Learning (DML) conference, there was a wide range of attendees.


 A highlight of the day for many attendees was the chance to meet other maker educators and share ideas and challenges. Attendees also got a chance to try hands-on activities that have been used in maker programs. Here’s a fantastic time-lapse video of the Make-to-Learn Makerstations where participants (including many teachers from the Chicago area) had a chance to make! In the afternoon, panels discussed topics such as using badges in maker programs and involving families in making. As a moderator, I had the chance to chat with many of the participants, and left truly inspired. Throughout the day, there were many discussions about the questions posed by the Make-to-Learn effort:

  • What are key learning outcomes of making and engagement in DIY culture?
  • What specific activities, tools, and environments help realize and enhance the learning potential of making?
  • How can we create DIY activities that appeal to a broad diversity of people, from many different backgrounds, and many different learning styles?
  • How has making and DIY culture been effectively integrated into educational institutions and practice?
  • What further research is needed to effectively advocate for the educational value of making?

I invite you to share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below!

The evening keynote speaker was Dale Dougherty, Maker Ed’s founder. Dale spoke about the role of making in education, and some of the opportunities and challenges faced as we explore making and learning.



Calling Young Makers: An exciting aspect of the Make-to-Learn efforts in the announcement of the Make-To-Learn contest for youth. In collaboration with Instructables, this competition gives young makers a chance to show off the great things that they make, and to tell the world a bit about how you made it.


“If you’re a maker between the ages of 13 and 18, this contest is for you. Share any project and answer four questions about what you learned over the course of the build. That’s it. Whether you’re making a pinewood derby car, a short movie, a videogame, a painting, a garden, a sweater, a science fair project, a school assignment, or practically anything else that required you to make something, you’re encouraged to enter it into the contest!”

Prizes include iPads, gift cards, and the chance to be in a documentary.








2 responses to “Make-To-Learn Symposium, and an opportunity for Young Makers”

  1. Jane Snell Copes Avatar

    When I was in graduate school (some time ago), lots of women started programs in chemistry, physics, and engineering, but the drop-out rate was really high. Informal interviewing showed that the major reason women left these programs was that they didn’t know how to use common tools and were embarrassed to ask for help.

    I do not want ANY students of mine to have that handicap going forward. Kids need to use tools and make things because we wire our brains with our hands. We open all kinds of doors with all kinds of tools.

  2. Dr. Kathleen Jamison Avatar
    Dr. Kathleen Jamison

    We’re beginning a make project with an alternative school and science museum collaboration in Virginia. I want to know more about Maker Corps – would love to integrate maker movement into more 4-H programs. I would also like to be kept abreast of current news and youth opportunities for submission of projects. FANTASTIC! Don’t we all love being part of those making sort of places and spaces!

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