We’re All Makers and Learners!… #54 #cong18


In a world of technology and 24/7 connectivity we can’t escape, making and learning are counterpoints to screen time. Embrace your Maker spirit and share with others!

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Make something every day
  2. Learn something every day
  3. Incorporate these into your daily life
  4. Share these with others

About Chris Reina:

Chris Reina has been involved in education for the last 16 years, technology for the last 37 and making for the last 45 years. From showing 16mm film at 10 years old to his role on the startup committee of Tralee Educate Together NS to his current business – TeachTech Support and MakerMeetIE he has participated in many diverse aspects of education.

As Ireland’s only Apple Certified T3 Trainer he supports educational institutions nationwide by providing services such as: workshops and training to teachers and students; implementing and deploying technology; web and graphic design as well as servicing and repairs. Amongst his skills he lists fire, magic, circus skills and modesty.

His latest venture – one-third of MakerMeetIE – who are dedicated educators with a passion in Maker-led, S.T.E.A.M.-based education for teachers, students, parents and anyone with an interest in making and learning. He has recently returned from Rome where they have exhibited the Ginormous Geodesic Rome Dome – an 18 foot geodesic dome.

Contacting Chris Reina:

You can follow Chris on Twitter or send him an email.

By Chris Reina

It’s an odd feeling to suddenly realise you have been something for the last 45 years and only come to realise it in the last 24 months. Me? I’m a Maker.

My work life has developed from a Graphic Designer to fixing and repairing computers; teaching and training people how to use computers and consulting on best practice and usage of computers. My daily job requires me to be in constant contact with technology, screens, wires, cables and adaptors of every make, model and size. From phones and tablets to laptops and desktops; from projectors and printers to cameras and networks – I look at them all, fix them, advise on them and teach them.

Along with my ongoing and constant immersion in technology over the last 45 years, I have practiced other diverse artistic endeavours. These range from presenting a 16mm film reel from age 10; renovating a 150+ year old Mansion at age 14; photography, mask-making, stage and street theatre, seasonal decorating; craftwork; festivals, events as well as co-founder and production designer for The Enchanted Forest – a seasonal experience using 1000+ creatures, a miniature train set, caves, mountains and running streams on a dedicated floor of a house. The most recent project was the Ginormous Geodesic Dome which we exhibited in Rome to over 100,000 people.

Clearly this is very different work to computing and computers. I’ve struggled to try and decide who I was in the world over the last 45 years – mostly by defining myself by my job.

I’ve been following (and fighting) both sets of skills and have now decided it’s not WHO I am, but WHAT I am. I’m a Maker.

Defining what a Maker (with the capital M) is can be quite difficult. An excellent effort was made by Adam Savage formerly of Mythbusters who also embodies the Maker Mindset: “Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”

Wikipedia defines the Maker culture as “…a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones.” Both explanations are very suitable.

There has been a lot of talk over the last 18-24 months surrounding how technology is harmful and it should be put away, hidden and to just stop using it – especially in education. My belief is that this solution simply won’t work. Banning something is often a reactive and simplified answer with no depth or thought involved. I don’t believe it will help us… I have another idea.

Instead of banning technology – we integrate and augment it by embracing the Maker culture. Teach mathematics by making a Geodesic Dome; study history by looking at trees; explore languages by using green screen; learn science by blowing things up; embrace engineering by building bridges; make art by getting our hands dirty. Use high-level tools and go back to basics. Mix analog and digital; make mistakes regularly. Iterate and repeat.

Maker-led problem-solving, critical thinking and project-based learning teach skills, confidence, imagination and exploration in all aspects of work life from retail, financial, technical, medical and more straight through to personal, social and public life. These skills make students and learners more well-rounded, valuable members of society – which is good for everyone.

Learn and Make something today.

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