Saying farewell to the #SCUMAKERS AKA Everything is AWESOME

The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it. ~Voltaire

I can’t believe it. We have reached the end of this chapter in our lives. I have a mind to give everyone a failing grade so that we can continue, but alas, your work has been far too tremendous to warrant that. And so, as this class comes to a close and you embark on tomorrow, I can be deeply comforted in by the words of Mitch Albom “There are no random acts…We are all connected…You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind…”.

It has been my honor and privilege to join you on this maker journey. We will always have the distinguished pleasure of participating in the first maker space course at St Kate’s, and of any LIS program in the country, nay of any institution of higher education anywhere that I am aware of.

At the beginning of the course we had discussed our mission. These were the themes that emerged for us:

  • Play
  • Create
  • Exploration
  • Collaboration
  • Learn
  • Teach
  • Encouragement
  • Hack
  • Challenge
  • Unique
  • Crazy
  • Fun
  • Curiosity
  • Perseverance
  • Respect
  • Risk
  • Try
  • Sparks (figurative and literal)
  • Passion

I have been just completely blown away in your achievement of these themes and of our mission. The projects have been so diverse, yet inspiring. You have all demonstrated such perseverance and tenacity in the completion of your projects (whatever state they may be in). The creativity, innovation and risk-taking of your projects are completely astounding.

You all meet your own version of adversity and frustration on this road boldly. When things didn’t go your way, you kept moving onward. Some had to move forward by moving back to the design phase of your project, but you kept going. I hope that when you meet frustration and adversity in the future, that you reflect back on this grand experiment and remember the deep well of fortitude that you possess, a fortitude that carried your through this crazy class.

I fear that the course may not have meet everyone’s expectations and hopes. But I take great solace in the fact that each and everyone one of you utterly exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. I could never have imagined reaching this side of our journey with the projects that you all created.  I am so grateful for our experience together in this class.

From you have learned fundamental truths about being a maker.  This class is not so much about the tools. The class as about freedom and liberation.  The tools and the use of them liberate us.  Being a maker is about being free, free to create, free to explore, free to make and free to dream.  Being able to make gives us a voice.  A voice that no one can take away.  Being a maker is about taking our place in this world.  Its about taking our place in something bigger than ourselves.  As I sit here and reflect upon our journey, I cannot shake the words of my old pastor

We need to embrace the simple truth that we were made

to give ourselves to a cause bigger than ourselves…

a cause that increases the peace in the world…

a cause, a purpose, a task that makes the world a better place.

Have you give yourself to a cause bigger than yourself that’s making the world a better place?

How is it making the world a better place?

May you become aware of your anger.

May you learn to channel it, to focus it, direct it into something beautiful.

And may it fuel sacred acts of healing and restoration.

I find that fate would have it that a song that irks me like no other, has grown on me so much. Yes, you know the song. Everything is awesome. I can think of no better theme song for our unique experiment than that, and so I leave you with…

Making, Breaking and Actually Breaking #scumakers

Yesterday we explored the Cameo Silhouette.  This device is a great entry into the maker movement.  While it is relatively easy to use, it still has the ability to create some incredibly sophisticated stuff.

Yesterday’s class has been one of my favorite classes so far.  Not only did Rob Dumas @stray provide us with an incredible overview of the CPL makerspace, but I also really loved the vibe in class.  I covered only about 15 minutes of my teaching materials before we were off and running cutting to our hearts content.  I’m not sure if it is the Cameo, or that we are more comfortable just diving in, but everyone really just took to this session. It was a great moment for me.  Our space really transformed from a typically classroom with rows of students unengaged with the sage on the stage into a true makerspace where people are helping each other.

The only downside.  We somehow broke the cutting blade on the last cut job.  I spent an hour or two trying to fix this thing at home, but to no avail.  So I went out and bought two more.  It’s important to keep in mind the cost of keeping these machine up and running when creating a budget and/or plan for a makerspace (ahem, report coming up).

I can’t wait to see you #scumakers

I know it hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen my #scumakers class, but man do I miss them.  Tonight we are lucky enough to have Rob Dumas @stray visit us from the Chicago Public Library Innovation Lab.  I am so excited to hear what Rob has to say on all things maker.

We are also covering the Silhouette Cameo (a paper/vinyl/fabric cutter).  It’s amazing all the stuff you can do with this cheap device.  From now on, I think I will advice libraries to purchase this machine as their entry point into makerspaces.

On an unrelated note, makerspaces is now official as the LoC created an official subject heading http://lccn.loc.gov/sh2014000535.

For those in the #scumaker class.  I’ve been so impressed with your blogging lately.  Everyone is doing an AMAZING job.  We are quickly approaching the end of our time together.  I only actually teach two more sessions after tonight.

Towards Our Mission/Vision/Manifesto #scumakers

In class on Wednesday, we began the process of creating a driving document for our time together.  Whether it is called a mission and vision or a manifesto, doesn’t matter, the importance is the heart of the document and what it represents about us.  Here are a few quick photos from our process

IMG_20140604_195533 IMG_20140604_205620 IMG_20140604_205633 IMG_20140604_205627 IMG_20140604_205638

 

Here is a list of key words and themes that have emerged that encapsulate what we are embarking on

  • Play
  • Create
  • Exploration
  • Collaboration
  • Learn
  • Teach
  • Encouragement
  • Hack
  • Challenge
  • Unique
  • Crazy
  • Fun
  • Curiosity
  • Perseverance
  • Respect
  • Risk
  • Try
  • Sparks (figurative and literal)
  • Passion

What is Making? #scumakers

We had our first class meeting yesterday for our content creation course (aka maker spaces and digital media labs and awesomeness).  It was a great first class!!!  I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

Happy Dance
Happy Dance

One of the most amazing things happened when we started with this very simple question.  How do you define making?

IMG_20140603_074836 (1)

Lots of amazing themes emerged from this simple exercise.  Here is a list of the themes (in no particular order)

creating

anti-capitalism (make instead of buying)

a process

designing

tinkering

exploring

pursuing a passion

impacting your environment (world)

moving ideas into reality

asking questions

researching answers

trial and error

learning from mistakes

reconfiguring

repurposing

learning

passion

making the world fit you

opening up the world (no trademarks, copyright, patents, etc…)

Making is the belief that everyone should have a comfortable life regardless of access to products

creative abilities used for the greater good

anti-authoritarian

 

The Amazing Power of Maker Spaces #scumakers

Yesterday, amidst all the rain, and my bathroom remodel and installing a garden, I was lucky enough to visit the local maker faire.  You can see some picture here.

I’ve only attended 1 other maker faire (which was equally awesome), but I had a major realization at the TC maker faire.  One of the things I admire most about maker spaces is there ability to meet the needs of so many different people.  On a side note, I wish that I took pictures of the people I met yesterday and not the stuff I saw.

The amazing power of maker spaces is that you can find starving artists working side-by-side with a diehard Star Trek geek. Yes, there is a debate over the importance of STEM vs. STEAM vs. STREAM vs. blah, blah, blah.  When you step foot inside a maker space, all of that becomes non-important.

What matters in a maker space is the desire and passion to create something.  Sometimes, you create something in the physical world.  Lots of times, you create friendships, connections, and new knowledge in your mind.

Maker spaces have the power to be a great equalizer.  They truly bring people together.  It is something to behold, to witness a young man asking an older women how she created her project at one table, to turn around and see a young woman ask an older man how he created his robot at the next table.  Whether young, old, rich, poor, regardless of racial or ethnic make up, sexual orientation, religious differences, political orientation, none of that mattered.  To witness that (in an era of tension) was very moving.  The most important tool in a maker space is the people.

A maker space depends on people (lots of people).  A maker space for one person isn’t a maker space at all.  And in so many ways, a maker space is made up of people being “excellent to each other” which is one item on the code of conduct at the TC Makers / Hack Factory.

Jenni Wagner dot com

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