Ryerson University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 106-111
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1021
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Contemporary maker culture, the rise of technology-based DIY tinkering and production, fails to extend beyond the representational and empower contemporary students to explore, create, and ultimately innovate. Its mainstream accessibility has diluted much of the potential for innovation in education. That advanced technologies in Industry 4.0 have afforded designers a seamless ability to translate virtual ideas to tangible reality has since been diminished by the restrictions in the idiosyncrasies of the tools of production as well as the lackluster application in educational contexts. Where generations of students learned about applied technologies, assemblies, and production in workshops, there is a growing disconnect between students’ awareness between reality of industry and theory dispensed with in the classroom. For all the 3D printing, photorealistic imagery, and DIY gadgetry that maker culture has provided this current generation of designers, there remains a great deal of uncertainty on scaling ideas to real world adoption. Though still at the early part of the adoption curve, maker culture is at odds with the environmental, social, and ecological paradigms educators, and society as a whole, embrace.

Many makers are effectively creating trinkets. Rather than truly fabricating full scale prototypes, many designers are content with producing scaled representational models on account of cost or size constraints of 3D printers or CNC routers, the novelty of these technologies, to students and faculty alike, has started to wane as their use is relegated to reproduction of shared assets from the Internet. That maker culture apologists downplay the ecological impacts and expenses incurred in their outputs while simultaneously amplify the innovations that arise from downloading shared online content is a pervasive sentiment educators must clarify for students. The accessibility and open sharing of content, capacity to fabricate ideas, and current supportive reception and encouragement of innovation at a global scale are vital, yet there is a need for educators to leverage the capacity of maker culture to go beyond the representational. This paper outlines key strategies that educators may adopt in refining and sustaining a maker culture that better sustains innovation and pedagogical value.
Maker culture, fabrication, design, full scale, prototyping.