Generation Alpha, the most recent demographic representing births in America, is a large group of children. The first of these kids are now 10 years old. For the next 10 years, we have the chance to make a significant impact in education. The solution to Ohio’s workforce development problems are right in front of us, but we need to act now.
Innovative, community based, collaborative programs exist, and they actually get stuff done. They key is “active learning “ in a process involving hands on training. When you begin early, in middle school, to provide opportunities to learn how to make things using technology, you can spark the interest of young people that can help students begin a career path. Each community can form Maker Spaces that collaborate with the schools and other community organizations.
Maker clubs can be formed at school. Maker space volunteers who are retired teachers, computer programmers, and people from local industries who now how to build things act as the instructors for training classes. Groups of kids involved in these maker clubs can build tabletop 3-d printers from kits after school and on weekends. Introduction to microprocessors and how they work is a class in which students build a digital lite display panel. Other classes involve building drones and robotic cars.
The maker space raises money from local foundations and businesses to make sure the kits of material, supplies and tools are affordable to any student. Eventually, schools form maker labs. As teachers become trained in the curriculum that is offered in the maker club classes, they can incorporate more STEAM related learning into the classroom.
It can be done. We are doing it now at Schantz Maker Space in Wooster, Ohio. Anyone is welcome to come see for themselves.
Victor Schantz , President Schantz Maker Space
Victor Schantz is a Member Contributor to OHFF. Sounding OHFF are opinion stories written by the author, not by Ohio's Future Foundation.