An interview on Making with

Steve Davee

Director of Education, Maker Education Initiative

About Steve

Steve is the Director of Education for the non-profit Maker Education Initiative located in Oakland, California. For eight years Steve was the Documentation and Technology Specialist and a Math and a Science Teacher at Opal Public Charter School of the Portland Children’s Museum. Prior to Opal, Steve was a biochemist at the University of Arizona and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Steve is the founder of CoLab Tinkering, which provides tinkering camps and workshops. He regularly shares the incredible work and capabilities of children through video, photography and presentations. Steve has B.S. degrees in Physics and Biochemistry/Biophysics, and an M.S. in Biochemistry.

What is Making?

Rather than strictly define this fundamentally broad, inclusive word, I like to think of the word making in personal terms. What Interests you? What do you love to do? To me, whatever answers that come from those questions can be connected to a myriad of forms of making, such as artistic, literary, high and low-tech, social, athletic, or other pursuits.

Who are Makers?

We all are, all born makers. Children exemplify this best. It's who we are as a species. Those who help others are among the most amazing makers in my mind, no matter whether they self-identify as a “maker” in the modern movement sense or not. Seeing yourself as a maker of any kind, coupled with modern methods of connecting and sharing with others, is especially empowering.   

Why is Making important?

We all have a part in taking better care of each each other and our planet. Seeing the maker in everyone, and providing more opportunities for all to to contribute to society, to solve problems, entertain, heal, build, communicate, fix, and educate, and so many other forms of making, can help.  

What is an exciting example of Making and why?

Skateistan! Young girls are expressing their freedom and creativity through skateboarding in Afghanistan. Through athletic, inventive and playful explorations, these skaters have built a community, strong senses of self, and are making a change in their society's perceptions. This kind of empowerment is priceless. 

How is Making transforming education?

I get most excited about new opportunities for students to express themselves and connect with personal interests. Children who may struggle with solely traditional lecture- based approaches can thrive given the context and opportunities to make things, to sing, paint, act, build, write, tinker and play. 

No matter what approach is used in teaching, making provides ways for students to connect with and care more about learning and each other. 

How can Making change my community?

The empowerment that comes through making often leads to greater civic engagement, less crime and poverty, and healthier environments. Making can reach and provide options and alternatives for those in greatest need, leading to greater community engagement.  

How does Making solve big problems?

Our biggest problems require collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches. Greater and more equitable access to making nurtures and diversifies the collaborators and the tools necessary to solve the problems we know, and those we can’t yet imagine.