What Happened at the Fourth Annual Maker Educator Convening

Photos by Keyana Stevens, Neysa Budzinski, and Aaron Vanderwerff

Every year, we are so grateful to be able to host many our dearest friends and colleagues at the annual Maker Educator Convening. We’d like to extend a hearty thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 Convening on October 19th and 20th at The Tech Museum in San Jose!

Overall, 270 people from 7 countries and 23 states attended this year’s Convening, and we had an incredible two days of sharing, collaboration, and delicious food. Based on conversations we had with partners and community members before the event, we knew that many people were excited to explore the themes of equity, accessibility, and sustainability in maker education. Our keynote speaker, Paula Mitchell, kicked off the event on Friday with an amazing keynote talk that touched on all three. Over the next day and a half, members of the maker education community led 35 sessions that covered topics such as assessment, STEM, design thinking, curriculum integration, equity, and the pedagogy and practice of our work. We are so grateful for the work of our partners and the possibilities of maker education in the world.

For those who couldn’t join us in person, we livestreamed our keynote and plenary panel (scroll down to watch them both!), and we have documented highlights, pictures, and some of the sessions here. 

We are reflecting internally on the time and location of next year’s Convening—be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter for updates, and see you next year!

Support for the Convening was provided by Chevron, MakeyMakey, Google, Autodesk, Galileo, and Lectrify. Additionally, we are grateful to the staff at The Tech Museum in San Jose for being such wonderful venue hosts. Thank you!

Watch the Keynote Address and Plenary Panel


Paula Mitchell, teacher on special assignment at Oakland Unified School District
Click here to watch Paula Mitchell’s keynote address.

2018 Maker Educator Convening Plenary
Click here to watch the plenary panel discussion.


100% of survey responses said the convening provoked thinking. Highlights include:

I walked away with so many ideas and just feeling reenergized to do good work. It is easy to get burnt out in our field, and sometimes you need something like this to relight the fire and passion.”


I always get something new when I come to gatherings like this. I was reminded to look at my own biases before doing empathy or design work for another. It made me think of how I might try & incorporate this into work I do with teachers.”


There are so many ways to create, make, explore curiosity that the possibilities are endless. Also, great questions were asked about who has access and what should be labeled as “making”.”


We especially want to highlight and share the feedback from a session called Social Justice Sewing Academy. The mission of the Social Justice Sewing Academy is to piece together youth voices, textile art, and community in a 21st Century Sewing Circle. Attendees were blown away by the work of Sara and the youth she works with.

Sarah was a force of nature & the work she presented spoke volumes about what can happen when one dedicated person shares their knowledge. She uses her skills to give a platform to students’ voices that wouldn’t otherwise be heard in the mainstream. Also stretches our idea of making to encompass what’s more traditionally called a craft.”


What people said on Twitter