Maker Nation
Maker Nation
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by Stephanie McCauley

This June, President Obama unveiled a national initiative to encourage K–12 schools to explore and invest in the Maker Movement. You’ve probably heard the term “maker” in relation to education, project-based learning, and STEM, but what exactly is this movement and how will it affect our gifted students?

The Maker Movement celebrates innovation by enabling students to design and build new technology using free and available information. According to the White House website, its goals involve “[e]mpowering students and adults to create, innovate, tinker, and make their ideas and solutions into reality.” In other words, don't just read about architects and engineers; become architects and engineers!

During June 17–23, schools across the country participated in a Week of Making—creating and sharing projects through social media, organizing designated spaces for making, and coordinating with maker mentors. The National Maker Faire also took place in June. These new opportunities allow students to explore their interest in STEM areas through engagement with fun and interactive technology, such as 3-D printers.

In time, the Maker Movement may impact American manufacturing, start-up culture, and job opportunities. Students who learn to be makers today may grow up to influence the national and global economy in unprecedented ways.

For now, though, educators are focusing on the fun. Robotic sheep, anyone?