New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The encouragement for this paper lies in the Maker Movement and the opportunities that it presents for engineering education in formal and informal environments. Several countries have taken to the Maker Culture in classrooms, after-school program, libraries, museums and other spaces that were not traditionally considered educational. Further still, the Internet is brimming with virtual communities, tutorials, blogs and other resources that have brought together Makers from different parts of the world. These physical and virtual activities have expanded to such an expanse that Maker Culture no longer has a single face, like the one at its advent. Makerspaces are also being used for formal and informal educational experiences in myriads of ways, though at the same time there has been explicit acknowledgment of the potential but missing linkage between Makerspaces and education.
This paper is a thematic analysis of the current face of the Maker movement as presented in cyberspace over different cultural contexts. In addition to thematizing these activities, we identify the educational aspects of these activities, tying them to educational philosophies such as constructivism, constructionism, and social constructionism.
For this thematic analysis we collect data from the cyber space in different cultural contexts. We identify themes within a context, and classify the data accordingly. Further we identify themes across contexts, with particular attention to themes of commonality and dissent within contexts. We also compare and contrast the educational aspects of these activities as linked to educational theories.
The themes for these activities contributing to the Maker culture of the world range from those directly related to Maker Media, independently run blogs and websites, community co-working spaces, other virtual communities, to published books and manifestos pertaining to the Maker movement. The word “make” shows up a great example for contrasting cultural themes in the contexts of the United States and India. Where in the U.S., many results have a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) individualistic flavor to them, in India making is often seen as an opportunity for accentuating the manufacturing sector of the country. This study presents the many faces of the Maker culture, makes connections between these myriad activities, and explores their relevance for education.
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