My Mom: Reason #1 Why I’ll Never Stop Learning.

I love my mother. Her continued optimism, even through two battles with breast cancer, inspires me on a daily basis. I owe my innate ability to “find the positive” in every situation to her, a debt I will never be able to repay. My mom also fuels my educational fire. As an experienced educator, she is constantly in my ear about all things education. You could say we have a unique relationship: she forwards me brain-based learning newsletters, Edutopia articles and “Tech Tuesday” tips weekly and we also exchange a number of texts every month that start off, “Make sure to check out (insert awesome new educational resource here)!” We are total education nerds. No doubt about it.

However, there was a time in my life where I absolutely hated all of the above. As a middle schooler, I wasn’t overly excited to hear her read chapters out of Ron Clark’s The Essential 55 at the dinner table. Thankfully, my mother knew better than I. Guess who now has The Essential 55 as well as The End of Molasses Classes on their bookshelf? This guy.

Flash forward a few eye-opening years to this afternoon. An email pops up in my inbox from my mother fulfilling the Tuesday ritual: this week’s “Tech Tuesday” roundup. These emails aren’t just a collection of unconnected links thrown together mindlessly. No. Each week there is a theme. This weeks theme: the DIY Movement. I have to be honest, when I initially read the email, I was disappointed. All I could think about was the terrible DIY Halloween costumes that are flooding my Pinterest account right now. “Mom, I do not want to look at poorly fabricated pumpkin costumes for toddlers.” If I have learned anything in my 22 years of existence it  is to never question my mother when it comes to educational resources. Such, we get into fierce debates about how to best utilize various resources, but those conflicts are expected between educational minds.

But really? Do It Yourself and the Maker Movement?

As you can probably guess, the Maker Movement is something quality teachers should be salivating over. The three articles I read, a Huffington Post tech blog entry, a Makezine article and a MindShift blog entry, all articulate the societal importance of the Maker Movement. As an educator, I synthesized what I read about the societal importance and applied the information to the classroom: why is this important to know about as an educator. Here are the conclusions I came to:

  1. First Things First: The Maker Movement is so much more than terrible DIY Halloween costumes.
  2. The Maker Movement is more than “tinkering.” Creativity, critical thinking skills, experience with failure, trial and error and problem solving skills are all being developed and fostered when “Making.”
  3. The movement is global. The United States is not the only group in the game. Other countries around the world are realizing the benefits of Making and incorporating open-ended activities into their curriculums.
  4. Some of today’s most talked about tech innovations and advancements are the result of the movement. Kickstarter, The 3D Printer, Esty, Minecraft, the emergence of Adult Legos, the list goes on and on.
  5. The Maker Movement is here to stay. There is a ton of research out there to point out that the vast majority of the career fields our students will be immersed in haven’t been invented yet. According to Thomas Frey, “60% of the best jobs of the next ten years haven’t been invented yet.”  Those students who have the self-motivation and critical thinking skills that are developed as a result of “Making” will be a step ahead of those who are reliant on others or textbooks for answers.

So thank you Mom for yet another opportunity to grow my brain. I cannot wait until next week’s “Tech Tuesday” email. Although I’m sure I’ll be hearing from you well before that! Love you, always.

Fittingly, my mom and I atop the mountain.
Fittingly, my mom and I atop the mountain.

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