Maker Movement pioneer offers sage advice to creative educators – Dale Dougherty, USA

As part of last month’s Hack the Classroom event, we heard from some true education innovators who have hacked learning spaces around the world to provide students with transformational learning experiences.

One of the innovators we were fortunate enough to hear from was Dale Dougherty. Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and a Maker Faire pioneer, shared some fascinating insights on why – and how – the global Maker Movement has become so successful, so quickly.

“The Maker Movement is a platform for creative expression for adults and kids…it’s the community coming out to show what they’re doing,” Dougherty told me. “And it’s something that our culture has sometimes forgotten – that we are producers and not just consumers, that we have access to tools today that allow us to create new kinds of things.”

Dougherty’s company, Maker Media, produces both the magazine, which launched in 2005, and Maker Faire, which was first held in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. Dougherty was also a co-founder of O’Reilly Media, where he was the first editor of their computing trade books, and developed GNN, the first commercial website, in 1993. Dougherty coined the term “Web 2.0” in 1993.

Most educators agree that learning by doing is one of the most effective ways to engage students. And the Maker Movement puts that concept into practice in a way that other teaching approaches can’t.

“People [in education] are really looking around to see how we can shift gears – how do we move away from standardized curriculum and testing to something that really engages and excites kids?” Dougherty says. “If we really want to prepare kids for a creative economy, and their role in that, they need to be able to express that creativity and develop the skills they have.”

Dougherty also shared some advice for teachers who want to get involved in the Maker Movement – including recruiting parents to help.

Dougherty encourages teachers to experience children in the Maker setting, and to get parents to do the same. “See what they’re doing, see what it feels like, and you get that it’s a great learning environment,” he says. “Kids need just the time and space to start.”

To hear more from Dale Dougherty, be sure to check out his TED Talk, blog and the Maker Media website, and of course, today’s Daily Edventure.

Dale Dougherty
Maker Media, Inc.
Sebastapol, California, USA

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