‘Maker Days’ debuted in East Africa this month, with Dr. Susan Crichton, director of the Faculty of Education and Innovative Learning Centre at The University of British Columbia, introducing ‘making’ activities and workshops in Dar SeLam, Tanzania. The Maker Day welcomed 82 educators from the area, including local principals, administrators, and guests from the Tanzanian Ministry of Education.
Crichton was invited to facilitate the Maker Day, and funded the maker experience with her grant from the Canada-Africa Research Exchange Grants program.
Maker Days encourage a shift in the education system to encourage invention, prototyping, and experimenting.
At the Maker Days, educators from Dar SeLam were introduced to design thinking, inquiry, and experiential learning through small group design challenges.
“The Maker Day exposed the educators to the power of making and constructionist experiential learning, but more importantly it empowered them through an introduction to design thinking,” says Dr. Crichton.
“UBC’s interest in supporting the maker movement globally is personal empowerment through relevant problem-finding, problem-solving and human-centred design—it’s a proactive stance in the world.”
One Tanzanian participant commented after completing the Maker Day, “If we in Africa understood design-thinking better, we could begin to solve our own problems. and be less relations on the often wasteful NGOS.”
The maker movement inspires makers, and not consumers, by re-claiming the human spirits’ desire to create, innovate, play, and tinker. Crichton comments that the process of designing and making is more important than the product.
“When you design from a stance of empathy, you can actually change the world, but when you design from a stance of consumerism, you just create stuff. ”
Maker Days debuted at UBC Okanagan’s Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) November 2, 2013, when educators from across the Okanagan explored how ‘making’ could be integrated into their classrooms by designing and tinkering themselves to solve a design problem.