Once again, thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life attended Toms River Regional Schools’ third annual Jersey Shore Makerfest. The event was held on Saturday, October 14, at the district’s event arena and the on grounds and in classrooms at High School North in Toms River, NJ.
The event celebrates a larger phenomenon that has been building worldwide for the last decade. Its application in schools aligns with state standards in careers, technology, science, and engineering and improved understandings of student learning. It is closely related to STEAM, Active Learner, and Problem-Based Learning initiatives many districts have recently begun.
Organizer Marc Natanagara, Assistant Superintendent, has seen the maker movement as an opportunity to make learning more engaging. He has shared recent school initiatives at conferences and at the past two World Maker Faires in New York City, each of which drew over 100,000 attendees.
“The maker mindset is about both individuality and collaboration, and the role of creativity in learning,” said Dr. Natanagara. “Students always rise to the challenge and show they can tackle real world issues if given the chance.”
Makerfest has sparked dozens of partnerships and sponsorships that have helped improve classrooms and programs, and the maker/STEAM mindset has been at the root of the majority of $1.2 million in grants won over the past two years. Makerspaces have been and are being built in each of the district’s 18 schools, most through grants and donations. Three high school Career Academies debuted in September, each with a hands-on technology component. Teachers are creating more interactive, inquiry-based, and problem-oriented lessons. And new tech, coding, and robotics extracurricular programs are in high demand.
For more information, go to http://jerseyshoremakerfest.org