By Emily Weerts, AMMF Maker Ed coordinator
In the handful of years since Maker Faire first came to Austin, we’ve seen the event change and grow in many exciting ways. As the list of participating makers expands, one trend that we’re happy to embrace is the notable increase in education focused makers, booths, and presenters. Making and learning are natural partners – making provides opportunities to develop confidence, increase creativity, explore science, math, and art in new ways, and investigate engineering and technology. This year’s Faire features booths from makerspaces at libraries, organizations that teach computer programming to elementary students, and Austin Community College’s new maker program. From pre-K through college and beyond, makers, learners, and teachers will come together on May 16th and 17th to share their skills, ask great questions, and forge new friendships.
This year’s Maker Education Village is being sponsored by WonderLab, a membership-based, supplemental learning lab for children in upper elementary and middle school. Thanks to WonderLab’s generous contribution we are able to expand the Maker Ed Lounge and run a Maker Ed Stage at this year’s Faire. Check out the Maker Ed program (below) and join us for some inspiring workshops, stimulating discussion panels, and engaging networking. Alt Ed Austin is supporting this year’s Maker Ed Stage and Nucleus Learning Network is coordinating the Maker Ed Lounge.
As always, Maker Faire is free for educators to attend! Tell the teachers in your lives to come to the Palmer Events Center on May 16th and 17th to learn and be inspired. To receive free admission, teachers must bring a school ID or present other proof that they are an educator at the box office.


Time Maker Description
10:30 am Raspberry Pi and KANO Workshop with Geekbus Join the team from Geekbus to learn about the low cost Raspberry Pi computer system and how easy you get started learning Python with the Kano OS. Come to the Faire early, this popular workshop has only 20 seats and is first come, first serve.
12:00 pm How the First Maker Movement in Education Failed with J.E. Johnson of Maker Ready For centuries, progressive-minded educators espousing “hands-on” and “inquiry based” learning have failed; persistently falling short of their revolutionary aspirations. Can MakerEd escape the same fate? Presented by J.E. Johnson of Maker Ready.
12:30 pm Educator Networking with Nucleus Learning Network Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for casual networking and topic driven discussions geared to meet fellow maker educators.Connect with the folks from Nucleus Learning Network and Maker Ed Austin.
1:30 pm Thinkery STEAM Squad Discussion Panel The Thinkery’s STEAM Squad will present how they have been promoting STEAM learning through advocacy, mentorship, and hands on learning. Members processes including researching, developing, and implementing innovative learning opportunities.
2:30 pm Maker Education Discussion Panel Join us in a discussion of how the maker movement is entering primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. Panelists include educators and makers from a variety of programs and settings.
3:00 pm Hands-on activities led by the Thinkery’s STEAM Squad Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for hands-on activities led by the Thinkery’s STEAM Squad.
4:00 pm Thinkery EdExchange Discussion Panel EdExchange is the Thinkery’s professional development program for formal and informal educators. Sessions focus on tinkering and making, robotics, coding, 3D modeling, circuitry and electronics, and more. Hear from several EdExchange participants and Thinkery educators about their experience in the pilot year of this program.


Time Maker Description
10:30 am E-Origami Workshop with Beverly Ball Using just paper and conductive materials, create circuits, switches, and movement. This is a great beginner’s circuit-building workshop, has only 15 seats and is first come, first serve.
12:30 pm Educator Networking with Nucleus Learning Network Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for casual networking and topic driven discussions geared to meet fellow maker educators.Connect with the folks from Nucleus Learning Network and Maker Ed Austin.
1:30 pm Home Learning Environments presented by Breanna Sylvester Join the discussion and explore ideas for creating, organizing, and maintaining play-based home environments for toddler and preschool children.
3:30 pm Skybridge Makers Discussion Panel Hear from Skybridge Academy’s students about their process and progress in classes like Kinect Hacking, DIY Inventor, and Graphic Novels. Students and teachers will discuss their experience asking meaningful questions, taking initiative, and persevering to find answers.
4:00 pm 10 Inexpensive Reasons Not to Buy a 3D Printer for Your MakerSpace with Jeff Branson from Sparkfun Electronics In our rush to outfit exciting maker spaces, we’re tempted by the quick programming solutions 3D printers promise. Not so fast! There are many inexpensive or free options for equipping a maker space without the complexity, expense, and reliability issues a 3D printer brings. This presentation/demonstration aims to expose you to ten things that unlock creative potential without prying open your wallet.
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