All posts by Vicky Twomey-Lee

Coder, Tech Event Organiser, Advocates Diversity in Tech, and now part of the Dublin Maker team as their Maker Advocate.
18 Jul 2021

Dublin Maker 2021 – Looking Back

Dublin Maker ran its first successful all virtual Maker festival on Saturday, June 19th. With over 40 exhibits showcasing live demos, pre-recorded videos, posters to check out, and of course, the most important part, meeting the Makers themselves.

Over 300 people signed up to wander around our virtual Maker festival. Thank you all who joined us at Gather Town, it was experimental, and we were delighted that people were engaging with each other, exploring the virtual park space, and watching our 3 hour livestream. It finally came true for us to bring the Maker community and the general public together this year, and we are ever so grateful for all the support.


Before and After – Behind the scenes

It went from above planning out map for Gather Town and trying to figure out how it all works to…
THIS! Final layout of the Dublin Maker Virtual Festival 2021!

THANK YOU!

To our sponsors and partners, to whom this wouldn’t have happened

  • SFI
  • ESB Energy for Generations Fund
  • Festival of Curiosity
  • DCU
  • TOG Hackerspace
  • Science Hack Day
  • Laser Laura

We couldn’t have done it without the team ranging from our roving reporters, social media to volunteers (no order in particular):

  • Niamh Shaw
  • Phil Smyth
  • Emilia
  • Alastair Roe and team at VIMAR
  • Caolán Ward
  • Roisin Lyons
  • Chris Reina
  • Nathan Wheeler
  • (names of other volunteers)

And of course the Dublin Maker team itself, David, Jeffrey, Laura, Tomas and Vicky.


The Live Stream

You can (re)watch the 3 hour livestream set in a newsroom style with Jeffrey and Vicky, which includes interviews with Makers participating in the Maker festival with Niamh and Phil, a tour of the space on Gather Town with our roving reporters, learning how to juggle, and even a weather forecast. You can (re)watch it below.

The Makers Documentary

We wrapped up the festival by premiering a documentary in the virtual auditorium in Gather Town and via our Youtube channel. Dublin Maker commissioned the documentary and was made by Hugh Rodgers and his team at Invisible Thread Films following the stories of Irish Makers on how they got into making. I suggest having a tissue box nearby, it’s both inspirational and very touching, and we hope this documentary explains why Makers do what they do, and what Maker community and culture is about.


Thank you again to everyone who has supported Dublin Maker all through these years, especially this year.

Till we meet again in person next summer 2022!

/ Dublin Maker Team

12 Jul 2021

Looking Back as Maker Advocate

Hai, everybody! Vicky here, writing about my reflection looking back as a member of the Dublin Maker team as their Maker Advocate. My role wrapped at the end of June and it’s been over 2 years since I joined the Dublin Maker Team as their Maker Advocate especially since my review blog post on life as their Maker Advocate

I may have hung up my Maker Advocate hat, but it has been an amazing journey meeting so many people and organisations and finding ways to connect people. And guess what? I still haven’t found a good open digital platform to share Maker info and resources

  • Github –  Not everyone will be comfortable using git and github (nevermind know what pull requests are), even though it would be a great way to crowd gather info in a very transparent way.
  • 🤔 Shared Google Spreadsheet – I’ve tried this in the past and people don’t add to the file either directly or via a form.
  • 🤔 Padlet – Found about his from CESI conference (if you haven’t been and interested in education, STEAM and other Maker-y goodness, you should check it out.

But I think the latter is pretty close (until the platform starts charging as we all initially free to use amazing products and services).

Here’s the Maker groups from a mind map I created when I started.

😓 As I said, I’ve never found a way to share this information.

It was a year in after making that mind map that I heard of padlet, find it below, I based it on the previous mind map, here’s the link to the padlet: https://padlet.com/makeradvocateirl/pj0ti18jkb2dmlbi

Made with Padlet

Or on a map highlighting Makerspaces, Fab Labs, etc. around Ireland (screenshot below or head over to the padlet itself at https://padlet.com/makeradvocateirl/h5fld6p5vqb3s8xf)

Made with Padlet

But there’s maps out there already:-

🤔 Could Notion be an answer?
It embeds collab tools like Miro and very easy to get into creating pages, tables (better than airtable), even has kanban board, and more. Let folks know what you think.

If you have a suggestion of a tool that’s open and easily accessible for people to contribute, email info@dublinmaker.ie.


Lots of collabs, events, activities happened since that initial Maker Advocate blog post including bringing Maker culture to Startup Week Dublin in 2019, we even had the Maker Van (DCC Libraries) parked at Wood Quay for “Maker Monday” and invited the Maker community to speak at the event and showcase in the Maker Van.

Teaching Python Turtle to groups of young teens at Creative Techfest. There’s been so many great activities and meeting so many amazing people that fast forward to 2020 and like everyone else, longing to meet and engage with people in person, even over a cup of tea to see how we can work together, get excited about ideas, and generally connecting, and of course, Science Hack Day!

The year 2020 was a hard year for many, and it’s still fresh in my memory on how all my activities stopped at the end of Feb 2020 when the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions came into force.

I was just off the high of:-

😥 And as it hits home more, my first trip to Berlin Makerfaire to represent Dublin Maker, its festival was cancelled. I was going to demo my first Maker project in public, a print your own text based adventure game. This would have been my first ever official Makerfaire and it is one of the largest in Europe. My plans were dashed as I hoped to visit and make connections with various local Maker/Hackerspaces by my Dublin Maker team-mate, Jeffrey, as my tour guide.

🤔 The first 3-6 months of 2020 also gave opportunities for many people to roll up their sleeves to figure out how to help with the shortage of PPEs for frontline workers from 3D printed or hand-made masks to people. Folks were also picking up making skills, including myself as I was completely lost from having a heavily populated calendar to it being almost wiped clean. How will I engage with the Maker community, how do I utilise my role and I also want to feel relevant in all that chaotic and confusing period? I wanted to help. Many organisations and people were trying to figure it out for themselves as lockdown and each level of restriction crept ever higher and no vaccine in sight. I started learning to make my own fabric face masks, they plucked up the courage to learn how to use my sewing machine I bought before lockdown. 

Other projects

I helped connect OSV to organisations that can donate any laminates for face shields, and Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council really helped my contacts.

As more and more events and conferences are going virtual, we decided to move Dublin Maker from 2020 to 2021 in hopes that we may have a hybrid or virtual event. Spoiler, it ended up being an all virtual Maker festival.

ENGAGING COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19

Before we get to that, during 2020, besides learning new making skills and publishing them on our website, we participated in events, gave talks like EnthusiastiCon (they are based in Berlin, kind of makes up for the Makerfaire cancellation).

Following are either collaborations, or new ways to engage with the Maker community and finding ways to raise the profile of the Maker community.

CODEWEEK IRELAND (COLLAB)

We even pitted ourselves against MakerMeet as part of CodeWeek Ireland (EU) 2020. It was an enjoyable IoT remote button mashing evening lighting up those smart LED bulbs behind Chris. 

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER

I was asked to join Smart Balbriggan’s Steering Group as representative of Dublin Maker team as they are planning an IoT Maker Space in the town centre, which also gave us a platform to talk about Dublin Maker and the Maker culture to its community.

DUBLIN MAKER PODCASTS

But how do we engage with our Maker community during this period of lockdown? We have been talking about making podcasts on and off before, and we ended up making 2 series of podcasts over the year: https://dublinmaker.buzzsprout.com/

I did try to upload them to Youtube, and tried my hand at making visualisers that changed as the people spoke in the podcast, but it didn’t generate as many visits. The other way was to play with an idea to record video of the podcast and show clips of it, but we decided to keep it all audio in the end.

Equipment used:

  • iTrack CM25B microphone
  • Yamaha MG60X (mixer)
  • Scarlett 2i4 (audio interface)
  • beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 32 Ohm (headphones)
  • Garageband
  • Zoom (Thanks to DCU)
  • Buzzsprout

MAKER-A-DAY SERIES 2020

First real streaming challenge, Maker-a-Day, this is during Science Week 2019: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAagJ_L-cqBFpBixy4-V2Rh0QvR4PhmTK

Equipment used:

  • iTrack CM25B microphone
  • Yamaha MG60X (mixer)
  • Scarlett 2i4 (audio interface)
  • beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 32 Ohm (headphones)
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Greenscreen (by Neewer)
  • Canva.com
  • Affinity Designer
  • iMac’s Facetime Camera
  • Zoom (thanks to DCU)
  • OBS streaming to Youtube

CHRISTMAS DECORATION COMPETITION 2020 (COLLAB)

We partnered with TOG Hackerspace (Dublin) and Benchspace (Cork) on a competition for folks to make festive decorations in December 2020. We got over 100 entries! It took us a long time to judge and was amazed with the creativity of all the entries from people of all ages. It was fantastic to host and was a wee ramp down from the frantic Maker-a-Day week long event prior to this.

DUBLIN MAKER 2021

2021 is our big year when the Dublin Maker Festival makes a comeback. The equipment used is pretty much the same as what I used for Maker-a-Day.

We needed help and feedback as this is all new to us and we wanted Makers themselves to let us know how they would like us to run Dublin Maker, and any tips if we were to do a fully virtual one. What are they anxious about when doing virtual events? 

An outcome was sharing some of our experiences along with Chris and Nathan on making a Maker video: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAagJ_L-cqBEWAn-eUmlqN4wz9368fCBG

We answered questions as we were seeking questions ourselves on how to host Dublin Maker on Gather Town and how it will look like as we haven’t seen another Maker festival do something like this.

But we did it! Even a newsroom style 3 hour live-stream. I spend many hours getting overlays, graphics, b-rolls (extra intermission footage so there’s no silence or if there’s a technical issue, this helps us give us a breather behind the scenes).

Here’s the Dublin Maker 2021 Live Stream that you can re-watch:

Equipment and tools used:

  • iTrack CM25B microphone
  • Yamaha MG60X (mixer)
  • Scarlett 2i4 (audio interface)
  • beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 32 Ohm (headphones)
  • 2 x Elgato keylight
  • Elgato Stream deck
  • Canva
  • Affinity Designer
  • iMove (quicker and exports to mp4 instead of using Final Cut Pro)
  • Screen capture on the Mac
  • OBS streaming to Youtube
  • Zoom (thanks to DCU)

We premiered a documentary about The Makers at the end of the Dublin Maker festival:

🍿 You can (re)watch all the various videos from us and the Maker community who took part via our Dublin Maker 2021 Playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAagJ_L-cqBEF2BxEWYQhRdtG6r3lDI2w

❤️ THANK YOU ❤️

🥰 So here’s final thanks to the team for offering me this opportunity to connect with the Maker community, big ❤️ to David, Jeffrey, Laura and Tomas.

🌈 Now a big list of thank yous building on the previous list  (I’m sure I am going to leave out someone, so I might update this list in near future):

  • Cathay Foley (SFI for all your support and advice)
  • Angela, Paul, Aoife and rest of the team from DCC Public Libraries
  • Andrew from BRYR
  • Annabelle from Innovate Dublin
  • Thom from maker.ie
  • John from The Nerve Centre in Derry
  • Gretta from National Print Museum and seeing their PrintLab
  • Sarah from St John of Gods
  • Barbara from National Youth Council Ireland
  • Dominic Campbell from Creative Aging International & Dublin City Council Culture Company
  • Miriam and Jen from Tech Space
  • Kate from Make, Create, Innovate
  • Ellen and Vincent from Festival of Curiosity
  • Fiach, Melissa and Cathy from The Digital Hub
  • Rodhan from The Digital Hub
  • Gerard from Fablab Limerick
  • David and Fergus from BenchSpace in Cork
  • Liam from DCC (Ballymun)
  • Involve (Navan)
  • Sylvia from I-Form / Women in 3D printing Ireland
  • Jake Byrne (TCD and maker educator extraordinaire who ran activities on the Maker Van at Dublin Maker)
  • Local Enterprise Office (DCC)
  • Barbara, Tara and Darren from Coder Dojo
  • Orlaith from Explorium
  • Aishling Hyland, Aishling Lennon, Aoife Sheridan, Breffni ORourke from Fingal County Council, and Helen and Lillian from Blanchardstown Library
  • Eamon Donyln (All the great chats and ideas from SmartBalbriggan Steering Committee)
  • Tara, Cheryl, Nadja, Maria, Mick and Richie from LoveLaceSpace
  • Mairead from Science Gallery Dublin and SYSTEM 2020
  • Ann O’Dea from Silicon Republic
  • Stuart Lawn from Fab Lab Maker Hub (Manorhamilton)
  • Staff at DCU School of Computing
  • Insight at DCU (special call out to Operations)
  • DCU Comms (advice on marketing and promos)
  • Gene, Colin, David and all the Startup Weekend Dublin crew 
  • Deirdre Green and ASSESSMAKE21 team and partners
  • Deirdre Butler (DCU’s Institute of Education)
  • Sinead O’Shaughnessy from Dublin City Council Culture Company
  • Chris, Pam and Hassan from MakerMeet
  • Nathan Wheeler (Crafty Nathan’s Creations)
  • Julie Power (CodeWeekEU Ambassador)
  • Gemma Dempsy (DCU  Sports)
  • Suzanne Little and Aoibheann Bird (Girls Hack Ireland)
  • Ramya Bhat (From DCU Finance and super patient with all my questions)
  • Shaun O’Boyle (all those great podcast tips and pointers)
  • Stacey Connolly (helpful advice on promotion, from Beachhut PR)
  • Irina Dzhambazova (tips from your experience as podcaster)
  • Hugh, Zlata, Anna and the team at Invisible Thread

And to anyone who actually pushed me to apply for this Maker Advocate role, including my husband, Mick, thank you. It’s been challenging and amazing at the same time. I know our paths will cross as I’ll always be a fan of Dublin Maker.

🙌 And guess what? They’ll be back at Merrion Square next summer, so set reminders in your diaries to buy sunscreen and get your thinking caps on with your next project for Dublin Maker Festival 2022!

If you want to find me, I’ll still be involved with the Irish tech community especially around diversity in tech – https://beacons.page/whykay – I’m sure our paths will cross, and best of luck to the team, and looking forward to many more Dublin Maker Festivals in the near future.

As a take on what I say when I sign off on Dublin Maker podcasts.. (ahem, podcast voice on)

 “And this is Vicky, your Dublin Maker advocate, signing off for the last time!”

— Vicky Twomey-Lee
06 Apr 2021

Dublin Maker Open Call 2021

Dublin Maker will be held on Saturday June 19th and Sunday June 20th in our special 2-day virtual festival on the grounds of our Dublin Maker Gather Town! 

It is a free to attend, community-driven event.

The festival takes the form of a “show and tell” experience where inventors/makers are sourced through an open call, and will have an opportunity to showcase their creations at individual virtual booths. It will be a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. It’s a celebration of the Maker movement where anyone can show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

We welcome all types of submissions in all shapes and sizes. Don’t worry about if it’s finished, we love work-in-progress projects, it’s a chance for people to engage and chat about its process and you never know, solutions might pop out at stranger places.

⌛️Note: Makers will need to be available for a minimum of 2 hours (which is the smallest time slot block), during which the Maker will be available to answer questions about their showcase, like an Ask Me Anything.

Being part of Dublin Maker this year means making a video showcasing your project, and if you need help to get started, we’ve a series called Make a Maker Video to help get you started. Huge thanks to Chris Reina and Nathan Wheeler for collaborating with us.

All Maker videos will be located in a dedicated Dublin Maker Festival 2021 playlist on our Youtube channel.

Also check out our website dublinmaker.ie to see what sort of ideas we have seen in previous Dublin Maker festivals and here’s a sneak peek to get an idea of what Dublin Maker Festival is like virtually in the video below.

Dublin Maker Save the Date banner

This will be the 9th Dublin Maker festival. Check out the fun we had in 2019 with the video below.

Whether it’s traditional crafting projects, something you are still tinkering with, apply for a place at our biggest Dublin Maker festival yet.

Come join us and the take the opportunity to spread the Maker Revolution!

  • Your project does not have to be finished, and it does not need to be for sale.
  • We want you to share how you make your project, so we definitely welcome work-in-progress, hobbyist projects.

Go on, throw in a project!

The Open Call closes TUESDAY MAY 4, 6PM (Irish Time).

Help us spread the word

Give us a tweet, and insta or a Facebook share. If you help us spread the word good things will happen to you.

And if you need more ideas, inspirations and some additional Dublin Maker spirit, check out the following:-

If you have any questions, drop us an email at info@dublinmaker.ie.

— Dublin Maker Team

08 Mar 2021

The Dublin Maker Podcast S2E6: Amanda Jolliffe & Microsoft Dreamspace

In this episode we talk to Amanda Jolliffe from Microsoft Dreamspace where she brings us on her journey from her role in Dreamspace through to all the various activities that happened in the space before the Covid-19 lockdown came to their virtually hosted events including a TV programme broadcasted nationally!

About Amanda:
Amanda Jolliffe is DreamSpace Lead in Microsoft Ireland. DreamSpace is an education venue that has an ambition to be a catalyst for change in how school communities think about and engage in STEAM and digital technologies. The DreamSpace program content is developed by teachers, of which Amanda is one. You can find out all about the DreamSpace programs using the details below or search social media pages with the #MSDreamSpace.

Where to find DreamSpace

Where to find Amanda:

Where to find Dublin Maker:

Dublin Maker is funded by Science Foundation Ireland

Music Credit: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chad_Crouch/Motion
Motion by Chad Crouch is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

01 Mar 2021

The Dublin Maker Podcast S2E5 – Christine Campbell (Anyone4Science)

In this episode we are joined by Christine Campbell, Founder and current Managing Director of Anyone4Science co-hosted by Vicky Twomey-Lee and Jeffrey Roe. 

Christine brings us through her journey on how Anyone4Science was born. She has such a vast wealth of experience and knowledge that we were jotting them all down and we hope you find this podcast useful from engaging young audiences, lessons learnt and much more.

Where to find Christine and Anyone4Science

Where to find Dublin Maker:

Dublin Maker is funded by Science Foundation Ireland

Music Credit: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chad_Crouch/Motion
Motion by Chad Crouch is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

18 Feb 2021

The Dublin Maker Podcast S2E4 – Dr. Rebecca O’Neill & Wikimedia Ireland

In this episode, joining us (Vicky Twomey-Lee and Jeffrey Roe) for a chat is Dr. Rebecca O’Neill, telling us all about her role in Wikimedia Community Ireland, how to contribute to Wikipedia, and rest of Wikimedia’s family.

And why people should also contribute to Wikipedia. What is “Women in Red”? Plus Rebecca is looking for pics of pancakes in Ireland. 🥞😆

Dr Rebecca O’Neill is the Project Coordinator for Wikimedia Community Ireland. A large portion of her work focuses on improving and strengthening the representation of women and content relating to Ireland on Wikipedia as well as the Irish language Wikipedia – Vicipéid. She is also the co-host of the new podcast, The World According to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Events coming up:

Where to find Wikimedia Ireland:

Where to find Rebecca:

The World According to Wikipedia:

Where to find Dublin Maker:

Dublin Maker is funded by Science Foundation Ireland

Music Credit: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chad_Crouch/Motion
Motion by Chad Crouch is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

12 Feb 2021

Dublin Maker Town Hall

Dublin Maker Festival is going virtual this summer.

We would like to invite our Maker community and friends to hear about your experiences and suggestions on how we can make this year’s event as memorable, engaging and interactive as past Dublin Makers.

  • Have you attended a Maker-related event in the past year?
  • What are your experiences, good and bad?
  • Were you an exhibitor in past Dublin Maker Festivals?
  • Are you thinking of exhibiting at upcoming Dublin Maker events?
  • Have you run/hosted any virtual workshops especially in the area of STEAM?

Schedule*

19:00 – 19:10Welcome and Introduction by Vicky Twomey-Lee
19:10 – 19:40Breakout Rooms
19:40 – 19:55Breakout Rooms Feedback
19:55 – 20:00Wrap up by Vicky Twomey-Lee
*Schedule subject to change

If you know other Makers who would be interested, please share. Thank you!

And we look forward to meeting you. With your help, we can think of a cunning plan to make Dublin Maker Festival a successful and memorable event. 🤔😊

// The Dublin Maker Team


Finally…

🎧 Have you checked out our latest Dublin Maker Podcast series? More episodes coming soon, you can listen to them at dublinmaker.buzzsprout.com.

🎞 Check out our past videos like the Maker-a-Day workshops as well as our recent Multiplier event as partner with ASSESSMAKE21.

21 Jan 2021

ASSESSMAKE 21 Inaugural Multiplier Event for Educators and Makers

It’s Vicky here from Dublin Maker. I’m excited to announce that we are hosting a new event as a partner of a new Erasmus+ project called ASSESSMAKE21. This inaugural Multiplier event is for Educators, Makers, Makerspace facilitators and anyone involved in Maker activities.

The event aims at encouraging participants to explore the creative possibilities of a makerspace located in schools and/or non-formal educational places. 

Key topics will be introduced by the ASSESSMAKE21 consortium. It will be a great honour to explore the magic world of makerspaces with the support of our 2 invited speakers:  Stuart Lawn (Fab Lab Maker Hub) and Chris Reina (MakerMeetIE).

Agenda

  • 12:00 – 12:10: Welcome by Vicky Twomey-Lee (Dublin Maker)
  • 12:10 – 12:30: ASSESSMAKE 21 Project by Deirdre Green (Learnovate) & Rene Alimisi (Edumotiva)
  • 12:30 – 12:45: “Fab Labs and Digital Making in Schools” by Stuart Lawn (Fab Lab Maker Hub)
  • 12:45 – 13:15: Breakout Rooms
  • 13:15 – 13:30: Feedback from Breakout Rooms
  • 13:30 – 13:45: “Making a Maker” by Chris Reina (MakerMeet IE)
  • 13:45 – 14:00: Wrap up and Call to Actions by Paul O’Raw (Learnovate)

We look forward in meeting you online and exploring the aforementioned creative topics together!

If you have any questions, please contact info@dublinmaker.ie.

13 Jan 2021

The Dublin Maker Podcast S2E3: Jellyfish, punk microscopy & Making with Mark Pickering (Jellylab UCD)

In this episode we talk to Mark Pickering from Jellylab (UCD). Co-hosts are Tomas Ward and Vicky Twomey-Lee. Mark is no stranger to Dublin Maker festival and also was one of our Maker-a-Day during Science Week 2020

We will be talking about how anyone can be a researcher at home and behind the scenes on how Mark and his team of researchers use accessible materials for their their research, his philosophy of punk rock regarding to his research – “punk microscopy”, experiences from all their Maker creations implemented in their labs. We gushed about LEGO and 3D printers. Of course, the fun you have when making and experimenting, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Mark is a Lecturer in School of Medicine at UCD.

Where you can find Mark and Jellylab:

Where to find Dublin Maker:

Dublin Maker is funded by Science Foundation Ireland

Music Credit: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chad_Crouch/Motion
Motion by Chad Crouch is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

16 Dec 2020

Dublin Maker partners in Erasmus+ Programme – ASSESSMAKE21

📢 We are delighted to announce that Dublin Maker (and DCU) is a partner on an Erasmus+ Programme called ASSESSMAKE21 (thanks to Mairéad Hurley from Science Gallery Dublin for connecting us to Learnovate who is the main drive of the project). Maker Advocate, Vicky Twomey-Lee will be point of contact on behalf of Dublin Maker.

Partners: Learnovate (TCD) – Project Coordinator, Dublin Maker (DCU), EDUMOTIVA, American College of Greece, Karlstad University (Sweden), Cyprus Interaction Lab (CUT)

🗓 Dublin Maker will be planning the first multiplier (information) event at the end of Jan 2021. Keep an eye out when we will announce the registration page for the event, it’s free to attend and will be online. If you are an educator, Maker, organisation that work with kids and youths, thinking of forming a Makerspace or having Maker activities in your community, library, school, club, etc., this is an event is for you!

Below is some info about ASSESSMAKE21 (the website will be coming shortly).


ASSESSMAKE21: Innovative digital solutions to assess 21st century skills in makerspaces: schools & non-formal

As the maker movement is increasingly adopted into K‐12 schools and nonformal makerspaces, students have more opportunities to generate unique, personalized projects and artifacts, such as computer programs, robots, DIY electronics and to develop new competencies and skills.

Digital making technologies if coupled with proper learning methodologies such as suggested by Constructivism (Piaget, 1974) and Constructionism (Papert & Harel, 1991) can provide learning experiences that promote young people’s creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills, the essential skills necessary in the workplace of the 21st century (21st C Skills).

However, assessment of these higher order skills is not easy, particularly within these open-ended environments where students create unique solution paths to problems, interact with peers, and act in both the physical and digital worlds. Currently, digital technologies offer novel methods and solutions to assess the 21st century skills and offer insights to learners’ efforts and achievements that become available for both learners and researchers. Thus, the goal of this project is to provide, pilot and validate novel assessment methods and tools intended to use for the assessment of 21st century skills.

The assessment solutions will be piloted in different learning contexts but focused on makerspaces (schools and nonformal ie the makerspaces will be either currently located in Schools or will be nonformal spaces whose programmes engage with School groups). The project partnership will run learning environments that will enable students to act as makers using a wide variety of physical and digital tools through hands-on experiences that emphasize collaboration and creativity following inquiry-based approaches instead of direct instruction of facts and formulas. 

Teachers and non-formal educators will receive training and will be highly involved in planning and implementing the activities.

Finally,
 the project will report findings and conclusions from implementations and assessments that will take place in 5 schools and 4 non-formal maker spaces in 4 countries. 

ASSESSMAKE21 Partners