The Maker Movement: Young Makers and Why They Matter

Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on Mar 25, 2011

STRAUSS: My name is Paul Strauss. I'm a software engineer here in GO, at Google. And today's
talk is called The Maker Movement: Young Makers and Why They Matter. This is a very interesting
topic. It's so interesting; it takes five people to explore it fully. The--we have Dale
Dougherty from Make magazine, Tony DeRose from Pixar, Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich
from the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and Michelle Hlubinka from Maker Media. All right,
and we're going to start with Dale, and he's going to describe pretty much what this whole
thing is about. >> DOUGHERTY: Thank you Paul. Welcome everyone.
It's nice to be here today. I'm the founder of Make Magazine and Maker Faire. And I'm
not going to spend a lot of time going over that and I hope you know something about it
or can find it--more about it--at our website. But I actually want to spend more time talking
about its connection to learning in particular, the idea of Young Makers here. And our general
reason for doing this program today is to develop and get you aware of a program that
we're working on for Young Makers in association with Maker Faire, Exploratorium and Pixar.
So, as you know, Make is a magazine for DIY or do-it-yourself, but I think one of the
most important things about DIY is it conveys the idea that you can learn to do almost anything,
that you can figure something out, you can read about it, you can talk to other people,
almost in a very much an informal sense of learning rather than, "I've got to find a
class, and I've got to find a way to do that." A lot of you who are technical people know
that you acquired a lot of your technical expertise outside of school, on doing projects
on your own, and figuring out what to do. And, you know, we really think that's a very
positive thing, not necessarily something that we want to say, "Well, schools ought
to do better at this." Well, maybe we just need to understand the way that people are
learning in particular, how they are acquiring different things. So, but behind a lot of
what we do at Make is, is it's fun. It's--we're not in a sense, trying to make it a formal
education. We're trying to share project ideas, and in a spirit that makes it fun and interesting
and, in particular, in a way that maybe a skateboarding magazine makes skateboarding
fun. I didn't--when I started Make, I did not really think that we would have an audience,
say of teenagers and others that really liked the magazine, liked doing projects and thought
of it as cool. But through Make and through our Maker Faires, we'd begun to see what's
happening there and that we are really connecting to kids who want to do stuff and to some degree
this isn't stuff that are being offered in school. So it does represent, you know, even--we've
talked about things like STEM Learning which is often, you know, it's--sadly, Science and
Technology, Engineering and Math is what that stands for. But sadly, that's a lot of book
knowledge. Make represents a hands-on world that you can access and start playing with
things and going at your own pace. And to some degree, you know, through our Maker Faires,
we see kids coming and learning to solder, and they really enjoy the ability and time
to focus, to do something, and you know, part of where I'm looking at as well, if we get
them stimulated, if we get them really inspired to do this kind of stuff, where can they go
in their own communities to do this? Well, one answer is, this is a lot like Garage Bands.
It isn't formal, it isn't--you don't go to the School of Rock. You go and you make your
own commitment initially to say, "Hey, I like to do this. I want to do this," for whatever
reason you want to be a rock star. You figure that out. You make a commitment to do that.
But the--importantly, you also look for other people who have similar levels of interest
and ability. You don't go out and find, you know, the guitar guru, you find other people
that are learning maybe just a little bit ahead of you. But you also are very conscious
of other people that have great ability. You commit the time to practice and play and I
think if you read about how we really learn things, this practice and play is very important.
It's what we are able to do as kids, to have the time to become good at something. That's
why, largely, as adults we often have--struggle picking up something like a new language because
of the time commitment is--we're competing with that on many other commitments. And then,
I think the last thing that a Garage Band does is it looks for ways to get out and perform
and demonstrate what you can do. And I think whether that's a Maker Faire, and you're taking
a robot there or a musical instrument you built. Getting things in front of other people
and showing what you can do motivates you, it tests you, and I think it's a very important
part of the whole experience. One thing I kind of want to mention here; we're talking
mainly today about this Young Makers program but I wanted to mention something I'm kind
of working on, and that's the development of Makerspaces for kids in communities. So
when I say that we get them interested but they go to school and they can't do this,
or they even find, you know, the parent recognizes that they're interested but they don't have
space or perhaps even the expertise to put together something. And in our New York Maker
Faire, I came across a building in this shape and structure which is actually cut out of
it using a CNC machine. And it's all put together really with a rubber mallet; it's all press-fit.
And I--it was designed as a shelter for use in Haiti. And I got to thinking that, "Well,
you know, just the way we view school gardens and throw them out in the backyard of the
school and created a space, could we just setup Makerspaces that way?" It's just an
outbuilding; something where you could go in and actually, the first action you do in
creating Makerspace is to create the space, to build it, and then begin to figure out
what else you need, the tools, the materials, the supplies, and to create a space almost
near a playground where you get to play and build things. So, I just kind of want to mention
that today. It's something we--we're, I think, going to be promoting over the next year a
lot and see what, particularly, can parents and volunteers get in and help build this
space. The kind of cool thing about it is, you can put it up, you can take it down. If
you get--find the wrong school, the people aren't using it, take it down, move it somewhere
else. But it doesn't require a lot of investment in terms of getting going. And lastly just,
you know, I've always been a little bit self-conscious about using this term Maker Movement and people
use it in the media a bit and I go over like, "Gosh, is this really a movement?" And someone
recently just told me, he said, "You got to start using that term because it really reflects
reality." It is something that's growing and, you know, really this year, we did three Maker
Faires, large ones in New York--the last one was in New York in September, we did Detroit
in midsummer and then the Bay Area which we've done five of, we did in May. And, you know,
each one is growing consistently and these new ones we started at 20,000 people in New
York; 18,000 people in Detroit; we have about almost 70,000 people here in the Bay Area.
And it brings families, it brings kids, it brings, really all ages together in this DIY
spirit of, "What can I learn, what can I do, and how do we share this knowledge?" So, we
wanted to really make sure that we're doing everything we can to include kids, include
Young Makers in Maker Faire, give them an opportunity to exhibit, an opportunity to
build things and that's really what we're going to focus on here today. But it's--you
know, the opportunity to do something, to make something, create something--I mean,
at one hand, it's sound "Yes. Everybody does that." But actually they don't. They don't
get to do that in meaningful ways in school. They're--they don't often get to do that in
ways that are recognized outside of a few areas like sports in their community. So,
sadly, if you--if I could show you some things, you know, maybe 50 years ago, the idea of
making stuff, of using tools and building stuff was a lot more commonplace and it was
almost plain, it wasn't interesting; it was so common. Today, it's almost at the other
end of the spectrum where kids look at stuff, "Can I break it? Can I get into that?" It's--I
run into parents who don't know if that's a good activity to encourage in their kids
or to turn them away from it. So, it almost has a radical underpinning today of getting
your hands on technology, changing things and making a difference. One of the things
I like to talk about at the moment, the early--one of the early uses in computing of the term
"Hacker" comes from a group at MIT, the model rail--Student Model Railroad Club. And they're--it's
not a formal program, it's a group of students, sort of collaborating after school in a small
room. And there's two groups, one that works on the--on the layout and then how the board
looks with the little ferns and mountains and villages. The other group works on the
switches. And it's the group that works on the switches that starts getting interested
in computing and--but computing isn't something that they can get their hands on. It's something
that's in the administration, and they own large computers and they came up with a term,
"The hands-on imperative" that you couldn't learn about something unless you could get
your hands on it. And it meant more than just touching it. It meant, really getting access
and control of that technology. And I think, you know, for almost a philosophical view
of what we were trying to do here and the world we're trying to create, we don't want
kids to just passively accept the world that existed before them. We want them to be engaged
in creating it, destroying it if it--if it needs to and rebuilding it in ways that are
useful to them. So, I think there's a lot more here than just simply getting your hands
on technology. Well, I'm going to introduce Tony and let him talk about--last year we--it
really, this Young Makers program originated as an idea that Tony came and brought to Make
magazine and Exploratorium and said, "Hey, I've been involved in this and this seems
like something I'd like to see more kids involved in." So, I'd like Tony to talk a little bit
about his program. >> DEROSE: Thanks Dale, thanks Paul. That
ended up in the wrong place, that's all right. So, I'm Tony DeRose, my day job is, I run
the Graphics Research Group at Pixar but for the last four, five years, I've also been
interested in finding ways that Pixar or Disney and Pixar together can use our storytelling
abilities, our cache, to help make Science and Math education more inspiring and more
relevant to kids. And that was really part of the effort that led to the piloting of
the Young Makers Program last year, coupled with my own personal story with my family.
So, I'd like to start with that personal story and then I'll--I think, just kind of set the
stage for some of the things we're trying to do for the broader community. So, I have
two boys, Sam, aged 16 and Joseph, aged 12. Sam's always been a builder and Joe is really
more of a storyteller. When Sam was younger, you know, he got his hands on every construction
kit he could find, Legos, Kinects, whatever and, you know, build elaborate structures
but along about age eight or nine, he really started to want to move beyond those construction
kits and we realized there really wasn't much for him to graduate into. So, we started working
on the--in the garage on a series of projects, most of which were left unfinished and in
2006, we had the good fortune of, sort of, happening on the first Maker Faire and at
that point we realized, "Gee, we're not alone," that there are lots of other people like us
and now we have a label for ourselves, we're Makers and we really connected with that--with
that label somehow. So, we continued to go in 2007 and in 2008, we exhibited for the
first time. We exhibited this thing, which is a large multi-touch computer display. So,
it's a big iPad, in today's terms, but in 2007, when we were building this, you know,
iPads hadn't yet been announced and this is a project that I originally started with a
couple of people at Pixar but the kids rapidly jumped in and we took it to Maker Faire, we
exhibited it. Here's Sam, you know, working one night in his pajamas in the garage on
part of the sensor. So, you know, this just becomes a kind of, an after dinner sort of
activity instead of TV or YouTube, nothing against YouTube. So, we took it to Maker Faire,
the kids showed it and explained it to several thousand people and it was just terrific as
a parent to kind of step back and listen to them talk about, you know, all the design
tradeoffs, you know, all the geeky little details with the folks that would come through
and that would really know what was going on. And not only did they learn a lot in the
explaining but through the course of the project, it just introduced so many teachable moments
in really relevant--and ways that were important to the kids, right? Because they really wanted
to see this thing come to life. So, this was, you know, a project that combined physics,
electronics, computer software, woodworking, it wasn't, you know, just a science project,
it wasn't just a physics project, it really combined everything in a package that was--that
was really exciting. It was picked up by the online version of Popular Mechanics, so that
kind of gave us a little jolt in addition to the attention that we got at the Faire.
So, at that point, we were hooked. So, in 2009, we started what has really become a
family tradition. Actually, it started back in 2008, where around Christmas time, we tried
to find a design challenge, work on it during the Christmas Break, and then, continue to
work on it and take it to Maker Faire. So, for 2009, we took as our design challenge
a Gatling gun version of the popular potato cannon. So, how many of you know what the
potato cannon is? Yes, good, all right. So, it's a piece of--it's some PVC pipe, you glue
it together, you ram a piece of potato down the muzzle, you spray hairspray in the back
end and you can launch a potato about 400 feet, which is great if you're a teenager
or a former teenager. So, at dinner one night, we were talking about the Civil War and that's
when Gatling guns came in and that's where those two ideas came together. So, here's
our potato Gatling gun, that we took to Maker Faire 2009 and again, that--just the number
of problems that we had to solve to pull this together, it's not something that we had--we're
aware of anybody having built before. We had no clue how we were going to do it at the
beginning; we just started talking to people and sketching out designs. Sam did the mechanical
design of the basic assembly and barrel mechanism, prototyped it and sketched it out and then
together, we worked out the trickiest bit which was the firing mechanism. So, we're
using sparkplugs here to ignite the hairspray and the barrels ignite automatically as they
spin around and when they reach the top of the arc, there are some contacts that you
can't see in this picture that are hanging down from the transformer. The transformer's
needed to step up the voltage. So, again, we learned about transformers, we learned
about, you know, how much electricity was required to make sparks, we learned about
air-fuel ratios, we did all kinds of experimentation with different fuels and which one stayed
volatile for long periods, so that we could load it up and not worry about it misfiring?
And I'll never forget that the key insight for the firing mechanism came late one night
as we were racing to meet the Faire and Sam and I are both standing there, we're both
sketching and we had that, "Aha" moment at exactly the same time and we just looked at
each other, we didn't have to say anything, we just knew instantly what each other were
thinking and, you know, as the leader of the research group at Pixar, I get paid to invent
things all day but that moment of discovery, in the garage that night before Maker Faire,
I had to tell you, is one of the most satisfying moments of discovery I've ever had. We were
standing there solving real problems together, as a family, took it to Maker Faire, the nice
folks at Make made a video about it, put it up on YouTube, it's now been seen about, 1.4
million times. So, there's a real appetite for this stuff and you--I can't tell you what
kind of confidence that inspires in the kids. For 2010, we took as our challenge to build
an Animatronic Fire-Breathing Dragon. The Disney lineage, you know, couldn't help but
be expressed somehow. So, this is a pneumatically controlled beast. It'll blow about an eight
or nine foot fireball. It's controlled with an Arduino connected to a laptop. This is
a project that we did as part of the pilot run of the Young Makers Program and so we
partnered with another teenager and his father and spent, you know, five months building
this thing, to take it to the Faire. It got quite a bit of attention there, so, at one
point, we had several camera crews stacked up at the booth waiting to interview the kids.
So, there's Sam talking to the reporter, next to him is Alex Jacobson, who was our partner
on this, and Joseph, my 12 year old. Sam ended up doing most of the mechanical design and
manufacture, Alex was responsible for most of the software, and Joe ended up being the
documentarian and also he became our most proficient puppeteer, you puppet her with
that joystick. Now, if you know Joseph, you'll know that this is a common pose for him. So,
again, he documented the thing. Let me show you a quick 40 second trailer that he did
for the making of. So, that was shot, edited, scored by Joseph, which shows you how kind
of, all encompassing these projects can become. There's this sort of a piece for everybody.
At one point, we had both of the families, our family and the Jacobsons, together in
the garage, you know, painting and doing set construction, in preparation for the Faire.
So, that's by way of background and I can't tell you, you know, how meaningful this has
become. It's a big part of our family life. We spent a lot of time together, you know,
scratching our heads, solving these problems and the question became, about 18 months ago,
well, "How can we provide this kind of experience to other families and to other kids?" If--for
instance, I'm imagining that there are lots of kids who are makers that don't happen to
have parents that are makers or don't happen to have access to shop facilities or maybe
the parent knows certain aspects of making but doesn't know other aspects of making and
so that was really the motivation for creating the Young Makers Program, is to try to create
an infrastructure and a community for like-minded kids and families to get together to share
tips and tricks, to be inspired by one another. So, in talking with the folks at the Exploratorium
and Make, we thought that we could try piloting a project, starting in January of last year,
with the idea being that we'd take kids that like to build things, pair them with mentors
that know, you know, one or more forms of making, combine that with shop facilities
and then do monthly design reviews and exposure to making, with the monthly meetings occurring
at the Exploratorium. So, we started with 18 kids, here's one of the open MAKE sessions.
These are two of our participants in the program and that they're working on an LED circuit
that responds to cellphone signals in this particular workshop. So, through these monthly
meetings, the kids kind of, see the progress of all the projects together, get inspired
by each other and do some group problem solving. Let me tell you of--about a few of the projects
that ended up being exhibited. This is Nathaniel, he's 13, he's always enjoyed making and his
project vision was to turn his broken electric stand-up scooter into a sit-down chopper thing
that you could drive around the Faire. And since we had a flame expert helping us with
Saphira, he thought, "Oh what the heck, why don't we add something flaming out the back
too?" So it became the flaming chopper that was his project vision and I should say that
that's another idea behind the program is, that the role of the mentor is to help the
kid find the vision if they don't already have one and then once the vision is decided
on to help them--first of all make it realizable because generally the ideas are too grand
to really work. So, figure out ways to pare it down and then get it to the--get it to
the Faire. So as part of this project, Nathaniel learned how to--how to weld and do oxy cutting.
We also learned a lot about electronics later. Here he is working with his dad. So his dad
really kind of played the role of mentor and then there were few of the rest of us that
were kind of meta-mentors that were helping the dad and the son kind of learn how to do
some of these techniques. They are working on the frame. Here's Shawn Nealy, the flame
expert. He and Nathaniel are puzzling over some mechanical aspect of how to get the frame
to work. Here's Nathaniel driving the flame chopper out in front of my house with that
big flaming thing out the back. He had a blast showing this off at Maker Faire. This is another
project. This is Evan. His idea was to create a container that could carry tools and materials
up a ladder to someone working on a roof. So completely different kind of project, probably
something you could build a business around. He called this the "Laddervator" and you see
the prototype there. They ended up--he and his dad worked together to build the final
version that they showed at the Faire. This is Team Habitable. They had several project
visions during the program, but what they ended up constructing was a modification of
an Ikea table that doubles as a hamster habitat. And the motivation for this came from the
mother of one of the girls. She's an interior designer and has always been frustrated by
how unaesthetic pet habitats are. And so their idea was to make an aesthetically pleasing
but also a useful habitat. Here they are working with their mentor, it's reconfigurable as
well. This is Colin and Joseph. They're--they go to the same high school, they're both into
this version of skateboarding called longboarding, where you've got a big long board and you
go really fast. And they had an idea for a new design for a skateboard truck that would
give them a lot more control especially at high speed. Skateboard trucks are traditionally
very simple mechanical devices with just a pivot. This has a gear built into it. And
they worked with their mentor to design the whole thing in SolidWorks, they CNC milled
it, they tested it, they didn't quite get it to the point of being able to demonstrate
by the Faire, but they did have the prototype sitting there and were able to talk to people
about their design. So I hope this gives you a sense of, you know, just the range of creativity
and projects that these kids brought. I want to go back to Nathaniel for just a second
before I turn the podium over. So Nathaniel's project worked great all the way up until
the Faire, it gets there on Saturday morning, he invited his parents from out of town, you
know, his whole family is there, you know, a lot people standing around the Faire, waiting
to see this thing and it wouldn't charge. It had been on the charger all night and for
the first time ever, it just failed to take a charge. So Nathaniel and his mentor Shawn,
and his dad and I grabbed a multimeter and we started tracking down the problem. Eventually,
collectively, you know, all the guys standing around here group problem solving, narrowed
it down to a blown diode in the charging circuit. Nathaniel soldered around it, plugged it back
in, got it to charge and it worked great the rest of the--rest of the time. So this is
another aspect of--that these programs can help develop and that is failure and how to
recover. Most of these projects involve a lot more re-engineering than engineering itself.
That wherever you start thinking you're going to build, of course, it changes it after several
prototypes. And that's not something that kids are typically learning in school these
days, right? If you don't get the right answer the first time, there's something wrong with
you in school typically. So this is an opportunity for us to fail together, learn how to respond
to that failure and make improvements. So in closing, let me just read a quick quote
from Nathaniel's mother, and it's kind of a testimonial, "So, I think Nathaniel's project
was a success on many levels. He realized his concept, learned many new skills, managed
the time it took to complete the vehicle and met new people. In my mind, however, the biggest
success was that a devastating end to Maker Faire was averted through support, teamwork
and tenacity. He learned something about overcoming adversity and you can't get a better life
lesson than that." So with that, I'd like to turn over to Mike and Karen who ran the
monthly meetings at Exploratorium. I think we're going to wait until the end to take
questions, if that's okay? Great. And we're going to have plenty of time for questions.
>> PETRICH: I'm going to say a few things. I'll show you a little video to kind of give
you the sense of what we were doing at the Exploratorium and then Karen will follow up
at the end. So at the Exploratorium, we've always found pride in the fact that these
are--staff at the Exploratorium who get interest in their project, they take materials and
expertise and sort of pull them together in the exhibit shop and then outcomes and exhibit
are outcomes of program, usually for teachers or for school groups at the safe confines
of the workshop setting. What we wanted to do is prototype a new type of idea in conjunction
with the Young Makers Program last year. And what we thought we would try to do is build
an environment on the floor that had loose parts, tools, materials and some ideas for
getting started with projects. Some of these were electronics-based projects as you'll
see; some of these were mechanics-based projects. But we weren't sure what was going to happen
but we figured if we got the right group of people together to layout materials and tools,
and the right group of adults together to help some of the youth and the adult visitors
to get started, we might see some interesting things. So what we did is, once a month, we
hosted an event. It was a program at the beginning of the day for the Young Makers who got together
to share their ideas with one another. And then in the afternoon, we opened it up to
any visitor who wanted to stop in and tried to work on these things with us. So I'm going
to show a four minute video. It's four minutes that shows four months of experiments with
activities and projects. And I'd like to look for a couple of things. Some of the things
we're most interested in are sort of inter-generational learning, some of the opportunities for people
to be working together with one another, not because an adult usually knows the answer,
in fact in most of these cases, the adults think they know the answers but when faced
or confronted with the real projects, tools and materials they find that they don't really
understand how electricity works or how mechanics works. And also watch for the fact that even
though a lot of people tend to be building similar types of things, there isn't a cookie
cutter activity that we're asking everybody to build. We're wanting to get them started
and inspired by showing them an example, but then the final outcome is ultimately up to
the visitors. Visitors decide when to come into the space and when they decide they want
to leave. So anyway, I won't talk over the video and then Karen will talk a little bit
about what happened afterwards. >> So what we're going to do first is it's
called the stripping of the wire. >> So what we're going to do first is it's
called the stripping of the wire. >> So what we're going to do first is it's
called the stripping of the wire. >> One wire.
>> Yes, that is excellent. And you can... >> But you said that it has three.
>> That's... >> This one has only one.
>> You should strip this one again because there should be at least three in there.
>> You want to connect all of these in a parallel. >> Well, so, what do you want to do? Do you
want to try adding little batteries in it or...?
>> Well, that's lighting up fine. >> Or do you want to try another [INDISTINCT]?
>> Yes, you got it. >> With my luck, I'm going to break this wire.
>> It's okay. We can get more. >> Okay.
>> Okay. >> Why don't we just take that entire thing
off and then redesign the entire cascade? Face it. Yes. And then we can [INDISTINCT].
What if we move the [INDISTINCT]? >> I'm just going to get that aligned right
there. It's really creative, Luis. See that in motion.
>> WILKINSON: Okay. So that will kind of give you a sense of what we're after in the Tinkering
Studio. But I kind of want to say, Mike and I have been huge fans of Make and making from
the get go. We've been at every single Faire and I think there's a real affinity at our
place because we are a creative culture that has in fact created the Exploratorium. To
really kind of place at a really high level of importance this ability that people have
to think with their hands, whether they even know they have this ability or not. So, these
Open MAKE experiences are a little bit broader in reach. Anyone who comes to the museum can
participate and we really want you to bump shoulders with makers from the magazine and
the blog and give you and the people you come with a chance to try things out. Like, in
the earlier one on the electricity circuits, people were wiring things the traditional
way, but then they were also given a chance to look at conductive thread or this fabric
called Zelt, so, you could think about electronics and clothing. So, those kind of interesting
juxtapositions, we also really like. As part of the Open MAKE, you also get to go to the
theater and hear from featured makers. So folks that were there last year were people
who--Ge Wang, who made the Ocarina App, I don't know if you guys have seen that but
that got a lot of excitement. But, you know you would--you would have someone making an
iPhone app but also an 80-year old, who is incredibly passionate about solar things,
kind of attaching and remaking junk and making it solar powered. So, we place a really high
level importance on people who make things and we--so much so that this has actually
become a strategic initiative. I don't know if any of you have heard we're moving down
to the Embarcadero and this tinkering endeavor will actually grow into a gallery, so you
will be able to come in and tinker at the Exploratorium as a visitor. So, while science
museums have had inner activity as the thing we know how to do, I would say, we're swimming
to shift to that equation a little bit and have it be much more participatory and creative.
So, we're really looking forward to that. And maybe, I'll end with this, a pitch to
get you to the Exploratorium. So, every third Saturday of the month, between the beginning
of the year and Maker Faire, we are going to have these Open MAKEs. These days of celebrating
making and I'll just give you a few hints of some of the things that our group is talking
about offering. We're treating a theme this year based on materials. So, we want people
to come and try out tools and get tips from makers. So, one of the things what we're thinking
about is we're going to have a big skateboarding ramp constructed for an after dark program
that happens for adults. During that same time, we'll be having an Open MAKE. So, you'll
get to hear from people who make their own skateboard equipments, there are people who
laser cut into skateboards. We want you to meet people who are really incredibly good
with chisels. So, laser cutters and chisels, we think they're both great tools, having
a chance to see those things. We also have a group that same time, who really wants to
make fire so we'll be looking at tools that allow you to make fire. Anyway, I guess, I
shouldn't go on too much longer, but we are really thrilled by some of the things that
are starting to be lined up and use that time to get people jazzed about Maker Faire where
we'll also set up a Tinkering Studio as we've done each year. And see you at the Faire.
>> HLUBINKA: So, it's my great pleasure now to invite you all to Do-It-Yourself along
with us. We've told you how we've done it and we'd like you to try it out too and become
part of the Young Makers Program. This year, we described how we had a couple of dozen
kids and parents involved last year at the Exploratorium for our feedback sessions, our
plussing sessions where they were sharing their projects each month in association with
the Open MAKE. This year, we are inviting people to start Maker Clubs in their own communities.
We are looking to have--each of these clubs have about 6 to 10 kids and that's sort of
junior high to high school range. Each of these clubs would have mentors, so makers
who either have kids of their own who they wanted to mentor or people who want to work
with kids to realize the projects, the wild imagination that they might have or the very
concrete practical things, practical problems like the Laddervator that they want to solve.
Each of these clubs would be run by an adult who would serve as the club manager, who would
be in contact with us. And also each of these clubs would have a shop host, someone who
opens up some kind of fabrication facility, it might be something like Tony's Garage,
where a few of the projects you saw happened or it might be someone who has access to another
spot that has more sophisticated machinery like a CNC. The kinds of things that we are
offering on our end for the infrastructure are a continuation of these monthly meetings
at the Exploratorium where they give feedback to one another on their projects. The third
Saturday of each month, as Karen just described, we will continue to offer these Open MAKE
sessions. And the featured maker interviews with these people who are doing this kind
of thing either as a vocation or an avocation. Something that they're really passionate about
that we feel could really inspire the kids and any of the many directions, projects at
Maker Faire can go in; arts, crafts, engineering, green design, music, science, technology.
And then, as Karen and Mike just described these Open MAKE activities out on the museum
floor that--the kids who are part of these Young Maker Clubs around the Bay Area will
be able to take part on those as well at Exploratorium and these round robin reviews is--we also
call them " Plussing sessions" and giving each other feedback on how they might improve
the projects that they're working on, tips for making the projects work better, making
them more appealing to the 80,000 people or so that we'll have at Maker Faire and how
to find the tools and materials and so forth that they might need to make the projects
happen. And then of course we're--another thing that we offer, as part of the Young
Makers Program, is to host this grand event in May Maker Faire. Now, you don't need to
be a part of the Young Makers Club to participate in the Maker Faire but it's our great feeling
among the--those of us who have come here to talk to you all today that being a part
of this organization is really critical for having--making progress towards completing
something in time for May. And again, last year we had a special area where the Young
Makers exhibited and the motivation of having the deadline of this event, we find to be
the most effective way to get kids to finish their projects. There's no competition, anything
that's cool is fair game, as we'd like to say. So, if you'd like to join, we have a
website, a Google site I believe, You can tell us your name and what kind of
role you'd like to play as a mentor, a young maker, a shop host, a club manager. We're
going to be having a meeting at the Exploratorium in early December, which we will let you know.
And there we go. I think we are ready for questions now.
>> STRAUSS: All right, VC apps, if you un-mute everybody, we can have questions from other
offices and anyone who wants to ask questions here, please come to the mic and we'll have
our expert tag team panel, tag each other. >> So two questions. One is, how do you get
your kids to give up their video games and look up from it long enough to, you know,
be interested in this? I think my kids have some inclination for it but the video games
are just too easy and gratifying. And the other is, aside--you know, the, you know,
building stuff in your garage with your kid, I was certainly a maker when I was a kid.
How do you keep from taking over as the adult? Because I totally envy all of the great toys,
I mean tools and the stuff that's out there these days.
>> DEROSE: So, there were two parts of the question. One was, how'd you get them away
from video games? One answer is to hijack their interest. As an example, my son Joseph
was really into a video game called Metroid and there's a character that he really liked,
so we talked about him making a costume of that character and we ended up building a
costume which was, you know, consisted of an armed canon with an embedded Arduino and
sound and, you know, we spent three months building this thing to take it--to Trick or
Treat it on Halloween. We're going to work on mark two of that to take to Maker Faire.
So he didn't have to give up his video game interest, we sort of leveraged that. So it
might be one strategy. How to not to take over? That's hard. It takes some discipline.
Being a mentor is, you know, it takes a lot of taste and judgment, knowing when to push,
knowing when to give an idea, knowing when to, you know, step back and let them make
a mistake. So I don't--I don't think there's any, you know, one answer to that and that's
one reason that I think a network can really help because if we can bring mentors together
to sort of share tips and tricks and strategies then we can all learn from each other.
>> WILKINSON: I'll just make a quick comment on the second one about taking over, what
projects. For our work at the Open MAKE part, we actually want--we look for those parental
takeover moments. We think those are really good signs and sort of invite parallel play.
So, if we see a parental takeover happening, we sort of rush in with either more materials
or suggestions to get them both working towards a project rather than mom or dad taking over
where the kid steps behind. But we really do this--I mean, it sounds like a joke but
I'm not joking about it. At the museum, you see most often parents are being good parents,
so they push their kids forward and one will either step back, you know, and their--you
could just see it on their face. They really want to get involved and when they do take
that step to become involved, we really--we want to be there to support both the adults
and the kids. >> DOUGHERTY: It's actually the same kind
of answer really, I think often is--you know, there's--there's a difference of between say,
under 12 and over 12 in terms of engagement but I think, when parents have asked me how
do I get my kids involved, I said, "If you're involved, it really helps, it matters a lot
if they see you making things, they'll be curious and even if they don't come in immediately
and do what you're doing, they're exposed to that activity." Obviously, the teenagers
are often more interested in doing independent work than say a young kid who want--who--often
it's a good pairing up to do parent-child things. And I think we're also still trying
to learn that, I mean, I don't think that video games are necessarily, you know, the
kids have a passion for that and we really want to show them that there's other things
that they could be passionate about. And I think that partly why getting clubs together
of this model is important to see what other kids are doing and places like Maker Faire
and even the magazine, again I've--at least anecdotally a parent said, "I dropped the
magazine in my kid's lap, he actually read it, you know, he really liked it." He wanted
to, you know, inspired to be--he was asking do we have a shop, you know, do we have a
place to do this work? So, there's no magic bullet but it's something like that--another
question from the group? >> Hi. I have--I also have two questions.
One is, why now? Why is the Maker Movement taking off now? And second, I think young
people are making and experimenting a lot with digital media. They're producing digital
objects and programming things and I was wondering if you had any thoughts about how young people
of different ages and parents and their children could collaboratively tinker and work together
on digital media and on code. For example, if a kid likes playing video games, if they
could collaborate to make a kind of simple video game together or something like that.
>> DOUGHERTY: I'll start it off. But--I mean, and, you know what, in terms of now and the
Maker Movement. You know, I don't know completely, you know, it's surprising to me, I think part
of the answer is that there's a lot of actually interesting new technology out there to get
your hands on, so we're seeing things like 3D printers and Arduino stuff which are really
new capabilities bringing new things to a new level. But I think there's something culturally
going on here too that I tried to indicate in my remarks that it's about empowering people
to do things, you know, you have an idea and, you know, if you're a 19 year old and you
have an idea for a website, you almost have no obstacles on your way to build it, right?
If you have to manufacture something, or you've got to, you probably have to get access to
a physical space and get access some tools but those obstacles are diminishing quite
rapidly in comparison to say, 10 years ago. And there are more things you can build with
off the shelf components today than almost ever. And the knowledge that you can find
online about how to do it and from other people--you know, I have to think like, you know, the
lone tinker, we often talk--it's probably like someone in the garage in the '50s or
'60s, I mean, they really were alone often not by choice but they couldn't--they couldn't
find other people easily who did what they did and if you were a kid growing up then--I
mean, if you're lucky to have a parent who exposed that to you, maybe a teacher, maybe
a neighbor but you're kind of out of luck if you didn't get exposed to this. And I tend
to think that, you know, exposure is what matters when you see other people doing this
stuff, it sparks an interest so that exposure part is so much important today when you see
someone build something crazy and ends up on a YouTube video, you kind of want and you
know, ask how'd they do that, could I do that? And I think part of the Maker Movement is
the answer's yes, you know, jump in and learn how. I'm going to let Tony talk a little bit
about the digital media stuff but I think it's a really interesting you know--actually
my initial idea around MAKE was that I've done a series of books on hacking and I saw
the people not only just hacking software but they're hacking physical things. And if
you take something like Arduino, you're hacking code and you're hacking something physical
and you see there's actually, surprisingly a lot of art, that's combining art and technology
and I just thought, a lot of our world is going to be sort of this dialogue between
the physical and the digital. And there's an economist article out on Smart Systems,
and it's talking about sort of mirror worlds. And so I think there's actually a lot of interesting
opportunity here. >> DEROSE: Yes, so on the digital media front,
I hope you got the idea that there is an opportunity to be kind of blur a lot of the lines here.
So, there was a digital media component to the dragon for instance and we're going to
be encouraging project teams to really document, you know, what they're doing online in the
medium that is theirs which is mostly video these days. In terms of video games, I think
it'd be great to, you know, have a Maker Club, you know, focused on video game construction.
And I'm particularly interested in seeing again--lines blurred between the virtual and
the real, so we've been talking at home about our next project and one idea we're throwing
around is a video game with a motion platform, you know, that you sit in and it's controlled.
And so they're building a videogame but there's also a lot of mechanical engineering involved.
So, I think there's a lot of opportunities for cross talk as well.
>> So I have a question about the workshops. How do you deal with liability issues when
kids are welding, drilling, using mills and lays and things like that? I think it's awesome
to get your hands on things and I wish we didn't have lawyers but we do. I mean that
for instance, if you're working in your garage, do homeowner's insurance policies cover things
like that or...? >> DOUGHERTY: Well, as they say, I'm not a
lawyer but it--you know, we think so in the terms of the homeowner's thing. You know,
safety's a really good thing to be conscious of, places like TechShop, Hackerspaces; we've
all had to deal with this. You know, the average shop class released one [INDISTINCT] reason
they're not around as much is, is liability issues but it probably is more to do with
nobody knew how to maintain the equipment after that old fellow retired. You know, I
think we have to work our way through this, I have not seen it really as an obstacle.
We have to really make sure kids are aware of this but, you know, I mean, look, there's
risks in sports, to bodily injury. There are other kinds of risks--you know, running 70,000
people through Maker Faire with fire and everything else, I'm acutely aware of the risks and something
bad happening would definitely hurt what we're trying to accomplish. So we're really attuned
to it. But I have to say the other side of this, it's like Shawn working with the kids
on fire, the element of danger is a selling point. And don't forget that in yourself I
mean, you know, to be along--walk along that edge and both to trust yourself and to know
what's required to do that walk is really important and I think it's what makes this
interesting that there--you could screw up. You could hurt yourself and so rather than
sort of have someone else watch it out for you, you know, you have to really internalize
what that means. So, and I mean, that's, you know, it's a--it's a--it's definitely a great
question. It's something we are paying a lot of attention to and talking to mentors about
and doing safety training and I think that's an area particular online where we could--we
could do a lot more to have safety certification and process for various tools and processes.
>> PETRICH: So, there are sort of legal and practical concerns that we face--been faced
with. One idea, Gever Tulley, the founder of Tinkering School, he's written a book recently,
"The Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Do With Your Kids." So he's been looking legally
into this and what he realized is that most homeowner's insurance policy will cover and
protect you from these types of sort of legal issues. But again, there's a practical approach
to this, you know, we've brought 25,000 people through our tinkering studio, and there were
saws and drills and hot glues, hot glue--hot glue irons and soldering irons and nobody
got hurt and we believe part of that is that there were a couple of us around who kind
of watched for things. But the other thing is that the tools are being used in a purposeful
way because they were meaningful activities that the tool should be used for. Oftentimes,
and you may notice if you've ever cut your finger or if you've ever burned yourself,
it's usually when you're not paying attention or when you're not using the--you're using
the tool for a purpose that it's not intended to be used for, which is certainly a creative
and tinkering way. >> Like hair spray.
>> PETRICH: Like hair spray. So it's the combination of being smart and being safe but also being
purposeful with whatever tool or technology you're using.
>> STRAUSS: We're pretty much out of the time and Dale just has a couple of comments he
wants to wrap up. >> DOUGHERTY: Yes, I just--I just--you know,
I mean, one reason we're really here is to encourage you to form a Makers Club, a Young
Maker's Club. We'd love to hear from you, we'll stick around here and if you have any
questions. But you know, getting 6 to 10 kids in an area where they get an opportunity like
this, this is still experimental, we haven't figured it all out, we just--we have no national
structure, no anything, we're just trying to make some things happen, give kids an experience
whether they are born makers or just curious. We'd like to get them in the program and work
with them this year so please let us know and thanks a lot for your attention today.
>> STRAUSS: Let's thank all the speakers.