Hacking and Makerspaces in Schools

Why is it that hacking is gaining popularity? Or why do people hack? Hacking, as defined by the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions. The definition that seems to have become popularly used is: to manage successfully. Why do people need to manage successfully? In today’s information age, every age group juggles so many things, its hard to keep track of the logistics. In these situations, it can be frustrating, difficult and success may not come by easily. Problems arise. Cookie cutter things don’t fit all. The problems need to be solved in order for people to feel successful. Welcome “hacking”/”hackers”.

Did I also mention that hacking first became popularised with coding? That one of the definitions of hacking is to write a successful computer program. However, hacking isn’t confined to coding any more. Have a problem? Let us try and see how we can hack it and come up with a successful solution.

Hacking furniture, hacking everyday objects, hacking clothes, hacking cars, just name it and people hack things everyday. There is a ton of learning that goes into it, self esteem, confidence, success and therefore happiness or satisfaction. We had the district’s first “Hack your Tshirt day today”. Every Friday, at our site, the staff dorns the school tshirt. While the design is very cute — designed by a former student, a Tshirt is a Tshirt is a Tshirt. The style doesn’t appeal to everyone. The collar gets to most women. I felt like I was claustrophobic. So one Friday last year, I decided to cut up the collar into a V-neck in the school’s makerspace. After all, isn’t that what a makerspace is for? Almost every teacher who saw it said they wanted to do the same. However, during the course of the school year, with other priorities gaining precendence, this was obviously sidelined in the grand scheme of things.

Come the following year. This is week two of school. Tomorrow is Friday. Everyone will wear their tshirts. Two days ago, one of the instructional aides asked — can we have a session to work on our tshirts?

Several folks want to do it. So I decided to set up a “Hack Your Tshirt” day today after school. Here is the advertisement for the staff:

Having purchased some sewing supplies, with the sewing machines up and running, buttons, fabric markers, and a few other items that we already had in the Makerspace, we were ready to go.

Not only was it enjoyable hacking the tees (a couple of the teachers looked up various sleeve designs and did those), it was a lot of camaraderie, good conversations, laughter and a sense of calm. In fact, it was so well liked, we decided we would have a session every month called “Hacky Hour”. Trying to figure out the dates for the “Hacky Hour”. We hope to have such sessions for parents and children as well. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures and the varied designs.

Teacher thinking about her first steps
The principal trying her hand

Teacher showing her stylish sleeve

One of the designs
Another teacher
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