The Sixth Annual Maker Educator Convening

About the Convening: 

Maker Ed’s annual Convening offers practitioners of maker education an opportunity to connect and share knowledge with each other. In 2020, due to restrictions on in-person gatherings caused by COVID-19, we chose to hold our Sixth Annual Convening in a virtual setting. We asked attendees and presenters to consider these urgent questions about equity and joy in learning: 

How will we work to reform, and REIMAGINE our educational spaces and practices? 

How can we harness maker education to center the creativity, imagination, joy, inherent ingenuity, and excellence of Black youth and teachers?

As we continue to reckon with the impacts of COVID-19 and a national movement for Black lives and liberation, we continue to harness the power of doing and creating together. We continue to ask, how can we push forward for a broad movement to transform education — one that respects the individual and collective agency of all learners, and teaches youth the critical technical and social skills they need to build a better world? 

Numbers to Know: 

Our 2020 virtual Convening brought together 233 attendees from 31 states and 12 countries, the widest geographical spread we’ve attracted since the inaugural event in 2015! 

We were joined by two brilliant keynote speakers, Dr. Nettrice Gaskins and Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, who shared important teachings about Black educational excellence.

Sketchnotes by Bri James, Maker Ed

70 presenters offered to share their knowledge and experience with the wider maker education community through workshops, panel discussions, presentations. 

96% of survey respondents reported that the 2020 Maker Educator Convening provoked their thinking. 

Thank you to everyone who chose to join us during this challenging and transformative time. The Convening wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of attendees, speakers, and presenters—that means YOU!  

Explore the Sessions: 

For the first time, we were able to record many of the breakout sessions (workshops, presentations, and panel conversations) that occurred at the Convening. We are so excited to be able to share this knowledge with those who weren’t able to attend on October 2nd and 3rd.

Explore all the sessions in this playlist below: 

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Advocacy through Fashion Tech

Amplifying Youth Voice Through Podcasting for a Public Audience

An Intercultural Approach to Intro CS Education

Black People Have Always Been Makers

Bringing voice and choice to the classroom to create a more joyful and equitable making experience

Co-designing Inclusive Student-led Maker Clubs with High School Students

Creation without limits: Exploring online creative learning experiences with Wix Education

Cultivating Playful Reflection in “Learning Dens”

Designing Family Math: Facilitating Human-centered Design Processes that Put Families at the Center

Fostering “Belonging” through Design Thinking: Girls STEAM Summer Camp

Hands on Learning for Hands off Times: Engaging Young People in Creative Computing, Digital Making, and Community Problem-Solving

How Does Centering Equity Produce the Most Joy for Everyone Involved?

If They Play, They Will Learn

Make it! Classroom: Integrating a Virtual Maker Curriculum into Title I Elementary Schools

Making for Whom and Towards What End?

Making Remotely with Passion Projects

Multi-Gen STEM Makerspaces in Affordable Housing: Co-Designing a Model with the Community

Online Professional Learning: Reflecting on Design and Experience

Pop-Up Innovation: School and Non-Profit Partnerships through Mobile Makerspaces

Remaking the Library Makerspace: New Moves toward Equity and Joy

Seeding Joy in Computing: Engaging Families in Making and Tinkering with Computing

Social Justice in the Makerspace: Creating More Inclusive and Accessible Makerspaces for Underrepresented Students

We Didn’t Call It “Making”[/expand]

Hear from Attendees: 

Join Us Next Year:  

Because conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to make in-person gatherings unsafe, we’ve decided to do things a bit differently in 2021! Instead of hosting a multi-day virtual conference, we instead plan to offer 6 shorter learning opportunities throughout the year. You won’t want to miss them! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to find out more.


Every donation to Maker Ed helps us build a more just education system. We greatly appreciate every contribution:

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In 2020, the 6th annual Maker Educator Convening will be virtual, to be held on Friday and Saturday, Oct 2 and 3, 2020.

Join us for a variety of activities, inspirational talks, networking opportunities, and sessions from the movement for maker education. Our annual Convening offers practitioners of maker education opportunities to examine, refine, evolve, and share our teaching practices — and ya’ll, 2020 is no joke! It is both a challenging and transformative time. How will we work to reform, and REIMAGINE our educational spaces and practices? Maker education offers an approach to teaching and learning that attends to the real and relevant needs of learners and humans; how will we use it to center the creativity, imagination, joy, inherent ingenuity, and excellence of Black youth? As we navigate and reckon with the impacts of COVID-19 and a national movement for Black lives and liberation, we are focused on equity and joy. The Convening offers a space for educators to connect and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of this time, build community, and work to move our collective action forward. By doing and creating together, we can push forward for a broad movement to transform education — one that respects the individual and collective agency of all learners, and teaches youth the critical technical and social skills they need to build a better world.


View Sessions & Schedule

Tickets for the Convening are available on a sliding fee scale — please choose the option that works for you and your organization. If all the pricing options are prohibitive and you would like to request a scholarship, please contact us at for more information.

Why “Equity and Joy”?

Traditional school settings don’t often validate the wealth of knowledge that communities of color express. As maker educators, we know that making can happen in many places, contexts, and communities. We often push ourselves to move beyond traditional teaching and learning methods. Yet even in our untraditional makerspaces,  

There is an overwhelming presence of white makers and creators who are seen as the definers of ‘maker education’ or ‘hands on learning’ when in reality, communities of color have been ‘making’ for many generations as a way of living, surviving, thriving, learning, and growing.”

We invite you to join us in reflecting on this lack of inclusion and finding ways to build a more expansive, varied, and inclusive movement in support of hands-on teaching and learning.  We also believe that the interrogation of our practices can and should be fun! Joyful! And, meaningful. We aim to encourage both serious, thoughtful discussions and moments of levity, laughter, and playfulness.

Learn About Our Amazing Keynote Speakers!

Note: More information about the agenda and presenters will be released on our website as it becomes available. 

Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins

Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins is an African American digital artist, academic, cultural critic and advocate of STEAM fields. In her work she explores “techno-vernacular creativity” and Afrofuturism.

Dr. Gaskins’ work explores how to generate art using algorithms in different ways, especially through coding. She also teaches, writes, “fabs” or makes, and does other things. She has taught multimedia, computational media, visual art, and even Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles with high school students who majored in the arts. She earned a BFA in Computer Graphics with Honors from Pratt Institute in 1992 and an MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. She received a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Tech in 2014. She has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels in the Boston Public Schools and at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Currently, Dr. Gaskins is the assistant director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab at Lesley University. She will publish her first full-length book through The MIT Press.

Gaskins has worked as a teaching artist for the Boston 100K Artscience Innovation Prize; and was a youth media/technology trainer for Adobe Youth Voices. She served as Board President of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and was on the board of the Community Technology Centers Network (CTCNet). Dr. Gaskins has also received funding from the National Science Foundation for Advancing STEM Through Culturally Situated Arts-Based Learning. Nettrice provides expert advice on how to include people from underrepresented communities.

Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University. She also serves as the director of the GSU Urban Literacy Collaborative & Clinic. She studies Black historical excellence within educational communities with goals of reframing curriculum and instruction today. Dr. Muhammad’s scholarship has appeared in leading educational journals and books. Some of her recognitions include the 2014 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English, Promising New Researcher Award, the 2016 NCTE Janet Emig Award, the 2017 GSU Urban Education Research Award and the 2018 UIC College of Education Researcher of the Year. She works with teachers and young people across the United States and South Africa in best practices in culturally responsive instruction. She is the author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.

Hands-On Learning, Anywhere


Maker education supports learners to develop cognitive capacities and critical consciousness by engaging in embodied ways of relating to people, things, and ideas.



Maker Ed supports educators and organizations to shift their practices in order to create learning spaces that are anti-oppressive, liberatory, and shift power to youth.


Maker education allows learners across learning environments to engage in projects that are personally meaningful to them, while building skills to use throughout life.

Previous Attendees Have Said:

“I imagine maker education shifting the way educators teach, creating opportunities to reach every learner by applying constructivist practices and providing time and tools to develop skills and mindsets” 


“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.”


“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’.”