Life is full of firsts. We celebrate when children speak their first words and take their first steps. The first day of school, regardless of grade level is always a big day. The first time you drive is a (cultural) rite of passage. Even a bucket list is usually comprised of adventures that we’ve not yet done and want to do before we die, making them potential firsts. Looking at my own life, it’s full of amazing firsts…the first time I left home for college (I’m a first generation college graduate and the only member of my family with a doctorate), the first time I flew to visit a friend by myself, the first time I spoke to a crowd of people, the first time I visited another country. My next first will be one that I can share with the United States…the first National Maker Faire.
From my childhood love of MacGuyver to majoring in Agricultural Education and later an adult love of CSI, making and doing to solve a problem is something I’ve spent a lifetime appreciating. As a connected educator in the 21st century it’s an amazing time to live, love, and learn. The maker movement represents a momentum in informal (and formal) education with the power to literally change the world. It’s a revolution that has been evolving for centuries and known by many former names. It’s not new, but the current rate of technological development, social media confluence, and resurgence of art in the sciences has created a perfect storm that sweeping the world. Don’t believe me? Check out this map of maker faires around the world:
What do you see when you look at this map? I see a world-wide phenomenon. I see a global community united with a similar purpose. I see the potential for collaboration across states, regions, and countries. I see a new educational dream.
If you zoom in on this map to Washington, D.C., you’ll see that the first annual National Maker Faire is next weekend, June 12-13, 2015. This maker faire might be like every other, and it might not. The power of potential lies in the unknown, and only time will tell what impact this new event will have. At the very least, personally, it will allow me represent the University of Wyoming and my WyoMakers project here on campus. This opportunity arose rather quickly and as the result of my existing collaborative work with the College of Engineering. Having an exhibit at the #NMF15 isn’t just about me. It isn’t just about promoting the work created by my students. It’s about telling the nation (and the world) about #UWYO and the outstanding facilities we have (like the American Heritage Center). It’s about modeling Cowboy Ethics; taking pride in our work, doing what has to be done, keeping promises, riding for the brand, and more. It’s an honor and a privilege to wake up each day and do what I love. I am grateful for the opportunity to extend this love to the world.
If you find yourself in DC next weekend or you’re watching from afar, let us know! If you’re a maker in Wyoming, let me know. Let me know how I can help enable making in your school/community. Let me know so that I can celebrate your makers and showcase their work. Let’s make something! You can contact me at [email protected] or on Twitter/Instagram at @tadousay.