September 20, 2012, by AnnMarie Thomas
We love seeing and hearing of the excitement families feel after attending a Maker Faire or participating in a making activity. Often, this enthusiasm is followed by the question: “Where can my kids do more of this?”
Finding making opportunities in your own community can sometimes be a challenge. Thus, we are excited to partner/work with the Coalition for Science After School who maintains a resource to answer that question!
In partnership with Time Warner Cable, the Coalition maintains a directory of thousands of out-of-school opportunities throughout the United States, which parents are encouraged to access through the Connect a Million Minds Connectory.
“The National After School Science Directory is a searchable database designed to increase access to high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education beyond the classroom for youth and families across the nation. The Directory houses thousands of STEM opportunities, submitted by science centers, museums, schools and youth-serving organizations. Search our Directory to view opportunities to connect the America’s youth to high-quality STEM learning experiences.”
As a mother and as an engineering professor, I have seen first hand the strong connection between making and STEM, and firmly believe that making plays an important role in developing technological literacy in children, and everyone.
While the Directory has always had a wide array of program classifications (ranging from robotics to botany), programs can now also classify themselves as Making/DIY, allowing parents and others to easily find making opportunities in their own communities. As Dr. Carol Tang, director of the Coalition says,
“Often, the best examples of science and engineering afterschool programs are ones which embrace Making principles and engage young people with hands-on and minds-on activities. The National After School Science Directory helps connect those of us who want to foster creativity, experimentation and a sense of confidence in youth. By welcoming the Maker Education Initiative into the Directory, we hope to broaden the participation of caring adults, educators and children in out-of-school activities.”
How to Participate
If your organization offers making programs for children and youth we encourage you to enter it in the Directory, selecting “Making/DIY” as one of the topic areas. This can be done by going to http://directory.afterschoolscience.org/ If you have any difficulties entering the system, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, you can contact Maker Ed at info@MakerEd.org (or me directly at AnnMarie@MakerEd.org) and we’d love to hear your thoughts on this new way to get the word out about your making programs.
If you are looking for Making and STEM opportunities in your community, the Connectory can help you find some.
As you may have noticed, the Maker Ed website is undergoing a design update. Soon we will have a Connectory search tool on our site, but while you are waiting you can go directly to the Connectory on the Connect a Million Minds website.
See you soon?
Are you coming to World Maker Faire later this month? Maker Ed and Connect a Million Minds will both be at the Faire. We invite you to stop by and speak to both groups!CoLab Tinkering Summer Camp students: Photos by Steve Davee