On Saturday, November 4, more than 60 educators joined Digital Promise and Maker Ed for Edcamp: Maker Promise, a full day of powerful professional learning through and about making. There were a wide range of discussions and hands-on activities, including an introduction to 3D printing, a paper roller coaster project, and a conversation on creating maker culture. At the end of the day, while attendees reflected and shared highlights of their experience, one attendee shared how they learned how to sync a micro-bit and was excited to share with their students how to do it.
Edcamp: Maker Promise was hosted by Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, PA. In 2016, Friends’ Central unveiled The Ulmer Family Light Lab, a makerspace designed for students from nursery to fifth grade. This unique educational makerspace, which features four separate studios dedicated to fabrication, design, media and computing, and natural sciences, was an inspiring venue to bring educators together for a day of professional development around making.
As part of the Maker Promise collaboration between Maker Ed and Digital Promise, we held this first Edcamp: Maker Promise to launch a new partnership between Maker Promise and the Edcamp Foundation. Edcamps are free, participant-driven unconferences organized by educators, for educators. Each year, there are as many as 500 or more Edcamps held all over the world. At Edcamp: Maker Promise, educators were enthusiastic about making and excited to take their Edcamp experience back to their schools. Through the new Maker Promise and Edcamp Foundation partnership, we hope to help spark this same excitement at all Edcamps.
Beginning in 2018, all Edcamp organizers will have the opportunity to add making activities to their event. Edcamp organizers will receive resources from Maker Promise to provide maker learning activities for their attendees. These will include a resource guide with tips on how to set up a station for participants to create their own circuit tile kits from cardboard and office supplies, and a social game that asks participants to collaboratively redesign a class project incorporating core values of maker learning – agency, authenticity and audience – into their designs.
In addition, educators interested in hosting their own maker education-themed Edcamps can connect with the Maker Promise for support and resources. In addition to the previously mentioned activities, these specialized Edcamps will receive tips for organizing a maker-themed Edcamp, financial support for materials and supplies, event promotion through the Maker Promise network, and gifts for prizes and giveaways.
Check out the event hashtag on Twitter (#EdcampMaker) to learn more about the attendees’ experience, and visit the Edcamp Foundation’s website to learn how to organize your own Edcamp. You can also sign the Maker Promise to find out about about more events like Edcamp: Maker Promise and receive additional resources and opportunities for bringing maker learning to your students.