Ari Bader-Natal

World Maker Faire, NYC

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The upcoming New York Maker Faire hits the NYTimes Bits blog today (The Robots Are Coming to Town):

If you've never been to one of these events, you're in for a surprise. A Maker Faire is the home to mind-boggling contraptions built by robotics hobbyists, amateur rocket scientists and electronics enthusiasts. In one corner of the fair, you can see a 3-D printing robot next to a giant robotic spider, turn a corner and you're faced with fire sculptures and a giant life-size version of the children's game Mouse Trap.

The Maker Faire is but one of many great contributions that the O'Reilly empire has made to informal STEM education. My experience at the Bay Area Maker Faire last year was memorable and inspiring. In a time when our concept of education is increasingly tied to standardized testing, it's refreshing to see that this sort of event is so popular. Will it be the kids who master all of the standards or those who grow up with the Maker Faire and Make Magazine who will ultimately build the Next Big Thing?

I'm not sure it's necessarily two distinct groups. My sense is that the kids who "Make" have a reason to pay attention in their math and science classes, and their test scores may (or may not) reflect this.