The Maker Movement is among us! You see it in shows from Mythbusters to Shark Tank to Chopped, and on channels from Discovery to HGTV to DIY. It’s all over newspapers, magazines (see our Resources page) and the web; makers on Pinterest number over 100 million. The movement celebrates the fusion of art with science, technology with nature, and the past with the future. Makers are people like you who build, fix, cook, create; who identify and solve problems; who mix and match ideas and tools as needed. They use their hands and imaginations to design and construct creations that are practical, beautiful, or whimsical (sometimes all three and more). Makers are hobbyists, contractors, artists, engineers, students, teachers, tinkerers, cooks, tech enthusiasts, architects, crafters, performers, scientists, and writers. They can be found in kitchens and quilting circles, scout troops and science clubs, at basement model train layouts and laying foundations, with aesthetics ranging from Victorian steampunk to the Mars missions. At the Jersey Shore Makerfest, we look forward to us expanding everyone’s idea of what a maker is!

A makerspace is the maker’s playroom. It provides access to diverse tools and materials for community members, enabling them to design, prototype and create works that are both artistic/creative and scientific/problem-solving. These can be individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, or organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries. In our schools, makerspaces are typically former or present shops or media centers. Each is unique in exactly how it is arranged to fit the purposes of the community it serves. According to makerspace.com, “Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education.”

Why do we need makerspaces in our schools? Makerspaces:

  • engage students where they are, enabling them to involve their personal experience, knowledge and interests
  • make learning authentic (i.e. meaningful, applicable, relevant)
  • prep students for the world of tomorrow, in which our lives and careers require creativity, problem solving, and adaptability.
  • address mandated NJ standards, including new Next Gen Science, Tech, and Career standards.

For great information on making, makers, and makerspaces in NJ, check out our friends at njmakerspace.org