From the beginning, Maker Ed has operated out of a fairly traditional office setting. In some ways, this was good for us as an organization: it allowed us the opportunity to collaborate with many different organizations, and be flexible with our program offerings and locate trainings at partner sites. As we refined our goals and thinking through six years of running programs, workshops, and research projects, we came to realize that our current office space no longer supported our long-term learning goals. It was time to move!
We’re so excited to share with you that this December, the Maker Ed team will be moving to a new location in the East Bay, which will serve as a destination maker-centered training center and event space! We envision a place where we can continue to test and iterate on our learning, deepen our own practice, train and convene educators, and build a validated, professional field for maker education together. We will also be welcoming partner organizations to share our space for daily work, workshops, events, and camps. We’re very excited about working in community and on-site with other organizations in the maker education space!
Our learning from the past 6 years of Maker Ed programs and projects is undeniable: When students are engaged in making, they embrace creativity, innovation, and discovery, and have meaningful opportunities to collaborate, solve problems, and imagine a vibrant future. When adults are developing and implementing maker education, they are more collaborative, engaged, excited by student work, and willing to try new things. When students and adults are collaborating to build the future together, there is a ripple effect of excitement that engages parents, shifts the culture of learning, and builds more connected communities. Maker Ed knows the best way to ensure these educational experiences is to shift teaching and learning practices at a deep and lasting level, and to build broad support systems that can nurture and sustain these changes.
As the maker education movement has taken root in recent years, much of its growth across the country can be credited to incredible grassroots efforts undertaken by small groups of inspiring administrators, teachers, and/or parents. And for maker education to have the lasting impact we know is possible, we must continue to collaborate and cooperate with each other, as organizations, and as researchers and practitioners in the field. We’ve been lucky to work with so many inspiring teachers and learners since we opened our doors, and we see an opportunity to bring these grassroots efforts together, to build and validate the field of maker education as a whole. We hope that by developing and using a set of common approaches, we can achieve our shared goal of bringing maker education to more youth in a lasting and sustainable way.
Most importantly, we want to continue to build our capacity to offer quality, ongoing professional development experiences for maker educators, and our new home allows us to do just that! Our new office will be housed in a historic Victorian building in the West Berkeley corridor, long known for its arts and manufacturing industries. The building, once a 3-story home, is on 1/3 of an acre, with multiple office and meeting rooms inside, a full kitchen, and an adventure playground, garden beds, and woodshop area outside. But the most exciting feature of the space, for us, is the 1,200 sq. foot, ADA-accessible studio on the ground floor, which we plan to convert into a fully-functional makerspace!
This new spot allows us to be more actively engaged with the day-to-day practices of the educators we work with. In a makerspace of our own, we can test out project ideas, practice using the design tools and thinking routines we recommend to others, and connect in-person with the maker community in the East Bay and beyond. We’re excited to host our 2019 workshops and trainings in this new setting.
We are even more excited about the partnerships and community we can build together. We will be open for community use as an event space, a shared co-working office, and/or a tinkering and prototyping location for other maker education practitioners. We hope this space will come to embody the ethos of our work: equitable, community-driven, accessible to a wide variety of makers, and filled with joyful teaching and learning.
We want to thank our board for their work and generous contributions towards making this move. Tony DeRose, our Board Chair shared, “I give to Maker Ed because I am convinced that maker-centered learning is our best hope for the future. I’ve seen first hand the impact it can have. Although my direct experience is anecdotal, there is also a large body of research that comes to the same conclusion. Through its programs, workshops, and resources, Maker Ed is accelerating the adoption of this style of learning.”
With this news, we are also excited to announce the dates and details of our new suite of workshops and training opportunities in 2019! Please visit our new website to learn more and register. We can’t wait to see you and build this incredible field together!
- January 24th – 26th, 2019: Making to Learn
- February 11th – 12th, 2019: Documenting for Assessment
- February 28th – March 1st, 2019: Designing Learning Progressions
- June 24th – 28th, 2019: The Maker Ed Summer Institute
Maker Ed would like to thank the Nancy C. & Dale Dougherty Foundation and Tony and Cindy DeRose for their contributions to make this move possible. We would also like to thank board member Kathryn Nash for all the work she put into to planning with us. We would like to thank Chevron for their ongoing support of Maker Ed, and Google for getting us started with making and art supplies for the new location! We are so excited about the future, and grateful for all the support!