The Drexel Maker Movement
Innovation is everywhere, and the spark of creativity in everyone. The Maker Movement hopes to capitalize on this by giving people the courage to try their own ideas, Do-It-Yourself fashion, or by providing the tools and spaces needed to make these ideas and creations a reality.
A Maker Space is the location of an area specifically made, well made for making. Maker Spaces most commonly have different power tools, some a full metal or woodshop, 3-D printers, on-site help, and several computers. This is a Maker’s dream space. Some of these areas are free, while others require a monthly or yearly free. Many schools are starting to create Maker Spaces, in the hopes of teaching the children/students in a more hands on manner, and thus allow the material to stay with them more.
Drexel’s Maker Space is known as the ExCITe Center, which is at the corner of 34th and Market. It is a modest Maker Space, with a large open area, several kinds of 3-D printers, and many computers. There is always a project happening. The reason that Drexel’s Maker Space is so modest is because Drexel would prefer to reach out and help other national Maker Spaces improve, which gives the local community a place to be innovative.
A colleague of mine interviewed Dr. Brian Smith, a professor at Drexel, about the Maker movement and how Drexel impacts it on a whole, and Dr. Smith talked about how through teaching other schools how to effectively use and stock the Maker Spaces available to them, they can teach the community. In Dr. Smith’s words, “They need to be asking what do I want the kids to do…, as soon as [they] know that, the answer to the equipment becomes clear.” With Drexel’s help, many Maker Spaces are bound to get the tools and materials they need, and be able to more effectively impact the communities around them, creating more innovative minds by the day.
*All photos and quotations courtesy of Mayank Gulati and Sabir Ahmed