As exciting makerspaces spring up all over the place, I wonder how much attention is given to leveling the makerspace playing field in order to ensure that everyone in a 21st Century group, class, or school community has the basic knowledge for exploring and innovating.
Take understanding basic electricity, for instance. At a conference that I attended last year — an amazing event filled with countless maker opportunities — some people seemed to understood electricity’s basics and lots of others did not. The people without the knowledge, the “have-nots,” frequently appeared to lurk on the periphery of projects.
If you want a perfect example of people coming together — as makers — to work on a critical and life-saving project read the article How a Wedding Dress Maker is Trying to Stop the Spread of Ebola, in the Washington Post. The November 9, 2014 article describes how John Hopkins University biomedical engineers brought together a group of people to generate ideas about how to make a safer and more comfortable protective suit for the medical personnel who care for Ebola patients.
Tony Wagner’s book looks at young adults who are successfully navigating a transforming world of work, where a deep understanding of teamwork and innovation is a prerequisite for success. His profiles focus especially on the educational and parenting experiences that helped each young person flourish. Wagner prods us to identify what we — educators, parents, concerned adults — need to do to engage young learners and help many more of them grow into innovative and creative thinkers.
Creating Innovators features two blended tracks — one text and the other media. Wagner supplements the traditional book with a host of videos that extend and amplify what we have just read. QR codesin each chapter make it easy to access the videos, so we need only scan the image with a smartphone app and off we go to view the related media. If a reader does not own a smartphone — and I’ve discovered that for financial reasons quite a few of my younger colleagues don’t — Wagner’s website includes a page with links to all of the videos. Continue reading “Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner: A Short Review”→