Some of our current team members have written a reflection about their work at Maker Ed that they would like to share with the community.
From Dora Medrano Ramos:
While I am deeply saddened by the news of Maker Ed’s closure, I am also proud of the incredible work our team has been able to accomplish in the past few years. We’ve supported educators across the country to develop a more liberatory, abolitionist pedagogy rooted in maker-centered learning. Through many programs and projects, and the extraordinary expertise of our facilitation team, we’ve created abundant resources, support, and opportunities for educators to build their liberatory teaching practices in order to create culturally responsive, anti-racist, rehumanizing learning spaces for all youth.
Our work has been impactful and diverse on so many levels. My first experience at Maker Ed was a deeply thoughtful week of professional development during our summer institute. Over the years, I’ve worked with an incredible team to design and facilitate powerful learning experiences– through workshops, meetups, convenings, and Making Spaces – in order to build a vibrant community of educators in schools, libraries, museums, after school programs, makerspaces, and other educational settings. At the height of the pandemic, I co-founded our online video series, Learning in the Making, collaborated with Oakland educators to distribute 1250+ maker kits to families, and co-developed a Cyber Arcade micro:bit curriculum. We provided resources and tools to educators by launching a Resource Library and published research and reports on key practices to integrate making into learning environments. We have shifted the field of maker education by partnering with other organizations to publish The Cultivating a Repair Mindset Toolkit, The State of Maker Learning, and Transforming Public Education through Making and Digital Fabrication.
As Learning Events Manager, I’m grateful to all of the educators I’ve met and worked with over the years. At every event or workshop, I continued to learn from and be inspired by the powerful work educators are doing with youth. This summer, I designed and led a 6-week course, Making Genius, Centering Joy, with an international cohort of educators where we developed learner-driven, joy filled, maker-centered curriculum. Leaning on the incredible work of educators like Gholdy Muhammad, Bettina Love, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Rochelle Gutiérrez, and Zaretta Hammond, this course was the culmination of a liberatory pedagogy we have developed over years. I was thrilled to see the projects educators will implement with youth this year and their commitment to creating learning spaces rooted in community and collaboration, encouraging agency, and cultivating criticality, joy, intellect, and identity-building.
Most importantly, I am honored to have been part of our amazing facilitation team. Their commitment, intentionality, and rigorous approach to our work made everything we accomplished possible. I am also grateful for the leadership of Kyle Cornforth and Aaron Vanderwerff and their ability to create a workplace truly aligned to our values of collaboration, agency, restorative justice, curiosity, and joy. With their guidance, we were able to imagine our freedom dreams and I am proud of all that we did to work towards making those dreams a reality.
I have always believed in the possibility of liberatory, maker-centered learning and that only by broadening our aperture of what learning can look like, can we then use maker education as a tool for liberation. I am confident that our work has shifted the culture of learning for thousands of educators and youth across the globe. I look forward to the impact our brilliant team will continue to lead wherever they land in the world. Thank you Maker Ed.
En comunidad – Dora Medrano Ramos, Learning Events Manager
P.S. Feel free to connect with me on instagram: @doramedrano777, twitter: @doramedrano777, LinkedIn, or follow my work with the BIPOC Makers Collective. If you’re in the Bay Area, you can also come learn with Agency by Design, Oakland.
I have loved every day of my eight months at Maker Ed. Even before I started, during the interview process, I found that staff were intentional, kind, and had vision and drive. I knew when I started that this intention, kindness, and drive would impact me greatly and I was right. Over my eight months at Maker Ed, we have put on multiple events, led several professional development workshops, partnered with amazing organizations, and I have gotten to experience working in a niche full of passion, expertise, and bright ideas. Maker education feels like the future, and it was a pleasure building community and engagement around that idea. Finding and befriending makers, educators, creatives, and supporters in order to grow Maker Ed’s network was a refreshing challenge, and working with my amazing team made it easy to be excited about it. This job made me eager to wake up in the morning amidst a dark time, and how lucky is that! We lived our values; we had fun living them. I feel honored to have joined a motley crue of painters, bakers, crocheters, singers, thespians, and artists, now friends: I thank you. Thank you to those who have followed Maker Ed’s journey: regardless of the future, we are making something happen. May you have the tools for back-to-school, and may your fall funding seasons go well.
In gratitude <3 — Isabel, Community Engagement Lead
From Jacqueline Garrett:
Maker Ed has brought me an incredible amount of joy and fulfillment in my role as the Communications Contractor. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with talented and driven individuals who all share in the collective vision of Maker Education. Communication with the entire team was always inspiring and thoughtful. The amount of knowledge I’ve gained in this role is immeasurable, I learned so much about leadership, producing thoughtful and quality work, as well as team collaboration. This organization prioritizes rest and restoration of self, and at the same time produces high quality and thoughtful work. As a Maker Ed contractor, I will miss the daily work and interactions with all of my colleagues, and I’m proud of the work that everyone’s accomplished.
With Much Gratitude – Jacqueline Garrett, Communications Contractor