Boing Boing Co-Founder Mark Frauenfelder on Maker Education

I had a chance to sit down with Mark Frauenfelder, MAKE Magazine's Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of BoingBoing, in Los Angeles to talk about his piece in October's Atlantic, "School for Hackers." We cut our conversation down into a little five minute video, so you can get a taste of how Mark's life has changed by entering maker culture.

If you're unfamiliar with the term "maker," it's the label for an emergent group composed of people who like to build their own stuff. They learn technology by tearing it apart and rebuilding it, gutting it and remaking it. As their numbers have grown, they've gotten more self-conscious, and I actually think they could become a real social movement.

I love that makers *do* stuff. Their enthusiasm is creative. They aren't just painting signs and rallying; they are out there building new things and systems that change their lives. What's really important about that isn't just that these attempts find new solutions, but that you come to understand problems better when you try to solve them yourself.

In his magazine piece, Mark focused on the maker approach to education, which sorely needs new thinking.

So it makes sense that members of the DIY movement see education itself as a field that's ripe for hands-on improvement. Instead of taking on the dull job of petitioning schools to change their obstinate ways, DIYers are building their own versions of schools, in the form of summer camps, workshops, clubs, and Web sites. Tinkering School in Northern California helps kids build go-karts, watchtowers, and hang gliders (that the kids fly in). Competitions like FIRST Robotics (founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen) bring children and engineers together to design and build sophisticated robotics. "Unschooler" parents are letting their kids design their own curricula. Hacker spaces like NYC Resistor in Brooklyn and Crash Space in Los Angeles offer shop tools and workshops for making anything from iPad cases to jet packs. Kids in the Young Makers Program (just launched by Maker Media, Disney-Pixar, the Exploratorium, and TechShop) have built a seven-foot animatronic fire-breathing dragon, a stop-motion camera rig, a tool to lift roofing supplies, and new skateboard hardware.

So, check out his full story. He's a great thinker with a unique perspective.

[Aside: Mark's story was the first that I helped bring to The Atlantic print edition, so I will probably remember it forever.]

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In