The first skill we learn is how to design in 3D using TinkerCAD. After some practice, complex objects start to seem simple. Soon, impressive designs can burst out of a kid’s Chromebook.
The great part of maker education is that kids start to realize that the world can be understood. it takes time, grit, practice. It is great to give kids some confidence in their ability to figure things out. That’s where its at.
Unfortunately, a lot of our world is disposable or too complex to explain. How a smartphone works or fixing any car engine made after the 1990s is beyond complex. We can find those things that are accessible and practice with them. Small motors, the brakes on a bike, and mechanical toys can all help to demystify the world around us.
This matters to a maker. The main idea is that our students start to try understanding how things work. They have experience in figuring out the parts. They believe that they can understand it with some effort. Many things become fixable when we understand the world. Repurposing other items becomes second nature.
The longer that I stay in maker education, the more that I think that it needs to be prioritized and funded. It is vastly underappreciated.
For my part, I am publishing videos on basic popsicle stick construction on my YouTube channel. It is a small contribution. My hope is that with persistence and by going ‘back to the basics’ that this idea will grow over time.