from NYSCI President and CEO, Margaret Honey:
Last week, Peter Orszag wrote an article linking summer learning loss with skyrocketing childhood obesity rates.. For decades, educational researchers have studied summer learning loss — sometimes called the “summer brain drain.” In short, summer vacation negates some of the learning achieved during the academic year. This is particularly so for children on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.
We don’t expect kids to do algebra at the beach, but there’s any number of ways to incorporate science and math into their summer schedules. And summer learning is, you know, fun and active.
Move over textbooks. Step aside complicated instruction sheets. On Monday, an unusual space opens that will teach kids and adults how to create and build circuits, metalworks, quilts, crafts, robots, and most importantly, that wacky, out-there project that you were told could never be built.
Maker Space is a new area at NYSCI that is made possible thanks to an investment by Cognizant’s Making the Future education initiative. The space, designed by the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio, will feature workshops on topics like sewing, soldering, and programming using open-source hardware. But the real skills being honed will be collaboration, risk-taking, creativity and innovation. These are skills that are necessary for careers in STEM. And skills that will help prepare the next generation of leaders.
“Curiosity, creativity and collaboration all come together in the activities we have planned for this space…” said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of NYSCI. “The network of collaborators that will work with us in this new venue represent an inspiring pool of talent to give our visitors – especially young children – the tools they need to nurture the innate human tendency to be creative and see the world differently.”
Beginning in May, visitors to NYSCI can participate in workshops and drop-in sessions at the space. Topics will vary but will include sessions on the basics of soldering, sewing (using machines and equipment donated by SINGER® Sewing Company), and circuitry.
So forget your old notions of what you can and can’t accomplish. At Maker Space, there’s room for all your ideas, but there’s no space for limitations.
On September 17, more than 300 people packed into NYSCI’s auditorium to hear a panel of experts discuss the impact that “making” can have on education and innovation. The panel, called “Making, Education, and Innovation,” was held on the first day of World Maker Faire, a festival celebrating invention, creativity and the do-it-yourself movement.
Margaret Honey, NYSCI’s president and CEO, participated in the panel as an expert on children’s education. Margaret explained that NYSCI works to
“create experiences, particularly for young people, that are inspirational and, like Maker Faire, are catalytic and transformative … Places like science centers or children’s museums or other kinds of community-based organizations are also really important hubs for community activity because we’re less of a barrier and more of a resource that engages.”
Other panel experts included Tom Kalil, deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine, co-founder of O’Reilly Media, and creator of Maker Faire; and Francisco D’Souza, CEO and president of Cognizant.
The entire panel discussion can be viewed online here.