I believe that everyone has a Maker Story. A tale of how they came to be a maker. Maybe it was drawing classes in elementary school. Or a blinky soldering kit in middle school. Maybe you don’t consider yourself a maker, but there are those memories from when you were a kid of making things that bring a smile to your face. I think we can all benefit from sharing our Maker Stories and recognizing them in our students. So here’s a bit of mine:
My Maker Story
I’ll admit, when I first started my makerspace in 2014, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I wasn’t really sure what this whole makerspace thing was going to look like. It had been over ten years since I’d taken a science class, so I couldn’t rattle of how conductivity works, or what a circuit was. I took a C++ class once and knew some html from blogging, but that was about as far as my coding knowledge went. But that didn’t stop me. I started our makerspace anyway and figured things out as I went along.
Making as a child
Looking back with more hindsight, I can understand better how things worked. You see, long before the Maker Movement was a concept we started talking about, I was a Maker. As a kid, I had an entire city built out of LEGOs on a card table in my room that I refused to let my mom take down. There was an entire K’nex amusement park on the top shelf of my closet. When me and my friends would build forts out of sheets and pillows, I prided myself on creating the designs that they wanted to “live” in. (Head to this post WAY back in the blog archives to see a few of my creations). I loved photography, from the “bird photography” I did as a kid where the bird was a tiny speck in the sky, to my first SLR in high school when I was the photography editor of our newspaper, to a dark room class I took in college.
And I was always a crafter of some sort. I took art lessons as a kid and while I never fully pursued the discipline, I loved taking drawing and painting in high school. My mom taught me how to sew and I found the joy of taking a pile of fabric and turning it into something amazing. In college I discovered fiber art when my best friend taught me how to knit. I spent hours looking through patterns from public library books and pretty much knit my way through my bachelors degree, having needles on hand during almost every lecture.
Making as an Adult
As an adult, I was well versed in the arts/crafts side of making, with a dose of engineering. But I didn’t know much about the science and technology side. So I learned. I dug in alongside my students. We discovered how things worked together. Sometimes I asked them to teach me (the concept of circuits was much fresher in their heads than it was in mine). I continued to be a Maker and learn with them. I certainly don’t consider myself an electricity or coding expert now, but I get the basics.
What’s Your Maker Story?
To teach our students to be Makers, we need to recognize the Maker in ourselves. That doesn’t mean we all need to go out and knit sweaters or write 200 lines of code if we want to have effective makerspaces. But we need to get comfortable with learning aside our students. We need to discover the joy of making with them. Trust me, we’ll all benefit.
So let’s share out our Maker Stories! Use the click-to-tweet below and add your story to it, or share your story in the comments:My #MakerStory is... Click To Tweet