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  • Next Steps Proposal: Maker Hive

    By Daragh Byrne Thursday January 2015, 00:34 UTC

    About this Proposal

    On December 3rd 2014, a group of signatory schools who supported 'Fostering a Generation of Makers' White House Maker Faire campaign gathered in Washington DC to discuss next steps. This generated incredible ideas and insight as we moved another step forward in defining a Maker Alliance Network for higher education institutions. Four work streams were created to explore possible next steps for the Alliance: the development of online resources; the preparation of a maker portfolio initiative, the development of increased funding for Maker opportunities, and promotion and advocacy for Making in higher education.

    Below you will find one of the four next step proposals prepared by our workstream committees. We invite your feedback, as well as any additions or alternative approaches you might suggest. You are also welcome to indicate your interest in volunteering to work on this committee.

    Finally, we also welcome new ideas for next steps. To contribute additional proposals, add a new topic to the 'Next Steps' discussion forum on MakeSchools.org.

    Please share any feedback no later than March 1, 2015.

    Maker Hive

    Problem Statement

    Institutions in the Maker Alliance share a set of making-related goals, such as enhancing student engagement, engaging the community, fostering small businesses, as well as making-related challenges, such as equipment training and liability for maker-spaces. There is currently no easy to access venue to share our successes or to turn to when faced with a problem.


    The maker movement becomes stronger as a whole with every improved program and maker-space. By connecting with and learning from each other, we can reduce duplicated effort, speed adoption, and ultimately reach a much stronger outcome than can each institution working on its own.

    Proposal / Solution

    The Maker Hive, is an online portal to provide the space and functionality to address our goals. The Hive should have information on Maker Alliance institutions (their spaces, their creations, their processes), information on how to get involved (best practices for setting up maker-spaces, liability/IP/etc for educational institutions' maker programs), have a space to post and address questions (for makers of all stripes, teachers, students, etc), ways to connect with people who can inspire or help (individual profiles, social networking), ways to incorporate making (in class, in clubs, etc), and act as a repository for high quality training materials (ideally, host certifications/badges that enable training that is transferrable between maker-spaces and that will be accepted to some degree by companies).

    Next Steps

    1. The MakeSchools.org portal begins to address this issue; step 1 is responding to the surveys and populating the site with the initial school and maker profiles and information. Continue recruiting schools and individuals to contribute.
    2. More clearly define the specifications for each of the elements of the solution (ex: training materials).
    3. Seek external funding to continue website development.
    4. Develop web elements as described.
    5. Explore how maker profiles could be used as portfolios to create value for participating schools and students (accreditation, resumes, etc.)
    6. Expand our network to tool & skill shares - facilitating interspace loans (similar to how University Libraries work), tracking these exchanges

    Workstream Committee:

    • Ian Charnas, Case Western Reserve University
    • Alan Cheville, Bucknell University
    • Mike Degraff, University of Texas at Austin
    • Jimmy Gandhi, California State University, Northridge
    • Crystal Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Kimberly Hughes, University of Texas at Austin
    • Robert Knotts, Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Vahid Montevalli, Tennessee Tech University
    • Brian O'Connell, Tufts University
    • Taskin Padir, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    • John Rieffel, Union College
    • David Schneider, Cornell University
    • Ed Tacket, University of California Irvine
    • Margot Vigeant, Bucknell University

    Figure 1: Hive Concept Image

    Figure 2: One element of the Hive should be shared online training resources for common maker-tools and pedagogies.

    Figure 3: Social networking abilities should be part of the Maker Hive.

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