What is the Maker Movement and How Did Makerfest Celebrate It?
Makers are artists and authors, tinkerers and techies, hackers and housebuilders, environmentalists and engineers, dancers and DIYers, modelers and macrame-ers, cooks, crafters, and coders-- in other words, everyday people who express their creativity through a variety of avenues, making the world a better place in fun, curious, and always imaginative and innovative ways. Makerfest IS the people who come to converse, share, demonstrate, and participate, so every year is unique. What has made JSMF different from other events is that we are entirely experiential, completely inclusive, and 100% free. JSMF hasn't been about selling or showing, but doing and sharing.
How Makerfest Came to Be
In order to help teachers, community members, and fellow administrators understand the importance of the maker movement on education, the organizers originally proposed an EdCamp with a makerspace at its core. As they came to say it, "the makerspace ate the EdCamp" as the event grew inside out, with learning experienced through making. The founders reached out to their Network of Awesome People (especially Larry Cocco, then at the NJ Department of Education, who is still an inspiration and collaborator) and innocently cold contacted friendly strangers. Armed with little more than a short description, a vision, and lots of enthusiasm, makers and sponsors signed on. The first JSMF in 2015 became a success based on a belief in each other and the incredible ethos of selfless sharing that makers embody.
The Jersey Shore Makerfest Vision
At the core of this event has been the global maker movement and makerspace concept. Attendees are not just witnesses to making, but experience it in an interactive, open ended, and often self directed environment, with a spirit of sharing, exploration, and fun.
Our vision has been to create a diverse and inclusive community whose members see themselves as creators, collaborators, innovators and makers of solutions.
Goals of the Jersey Shore Makerfest
Provide a variety of hands-on, authentic, and enjoyable activities that engage people of all backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, abilities, disabilities, and age levels.
Gain new understandings to improve teaching, learning, and citizenship in a global community.
Articulate and experience the connections among diverse disciplines-- including science, technology, engineering, art, math, literacy, and civic involvement--to make learning and living more integrated and less artificially fragmented.
Promote sustainable practices that foster awareness of our planet’s resources and the environment.
Model the maker mindset to help communities create their own maker events and makerspaces that all can benefit from.
About the Founders
Marc Natanagara has been a high school science teacher for 12 years, elementary principal, science supervisor, and P-12 assistant superintendent for 20 more. He holds a doctorate in education from Seton Hall. He conducts workshops, creates programs, develops partnerships, and has written and co-written over $3 million in successful grants over the past five years to improve education, and consults on new programs and initiatives and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tiffany Lucey is the Supervisor of Educational Technology for Toms River Regional Schools. With a background in business, math, and computer science, she helps teachers utilize technology in their classrooms, links curriculum with instruction, and communicates student needs with school leaders, consistently seeking alternative sources of funding.
Often together, they have become known for their unique interdisciplinary, problem based maker approaches to learning, running workshops at conferences nationwide (and even virtually).