[Special Interview – Bo-Wen Hsu] Parent-child Makerspace- Things not taught in school

by Yan-Zhu Wang

Those who often participate in Maker’s activities in southern Taiwan should be familiar with the Hsu family, as Bo-Wen Hsu always brings the whole family to all kinds of events. In 2019, he starts to transform his own house into a parent-child Makerspace, hoping to provide more resources for children in the neighborhood.

In 2018, Hsu Bowen attended a sharing meeting held at AI Robot Hub at Southern Taiwan Science Park. The event opened a door for Hsu to become a Maker. Although he used to be a science major, he often spends time with his children building woodworks and repairing electric appliances as well as toys. Hsu believes that instead of simply solving problems for children, it is better to help them identify the problems.

This belief has also cultivated Hsu’s children’s interest in self-making. His elder son is now in the sixth grade, and he attends various lectures and workshops, where children can work on robots, programs and other materials that motivate children in learning. Now he has even started to develop interests in python and C++ language on his own!

The car made by Hsu’s elder son (Photo: Liang-Jie Lin)

After understanding better different fields related to self-making, Hsu finds that most learning kits and materials are costly. On the other hand, most parents in the neighborhood are busy with their work and could hardly spend quality time with their children. Therefore, Hsu decides to fulfill his destiny as a Maker by providing for children in need with everything he builds with his own hands.

Starting 2019, Hsu has been renovating his own house into a Makerspace: The first floor is a learning space for children from kindergarten to the fourth grade, where they can let their imagination run free. The second floor is for students from the fifth grade to the middle school, and the third floor will feature a working space where people can hold lectures or workshop activities. As of today, children in the neighborhood flock to Hsu’s house after school every day. As the children gather on the first floor playing with their Lego blocks, robots and toy cars, they can also know more about self-making. This is exactly what Hsu wants for them- learning through playing.

A route map for robotic cars (Photo: Liang-Jie Lin)

“If possible, I’d love to bring these hand-made artifacts into school one day,” said Hsu, as he talked about his plan for school curriculum with excitement. Hsu suggests that if he could start a club or camp for students after school or during summer and winter break, children could have access to more knowledge that is not taught in class.

In addition to starting camps and clubs in the elementary school, Hsu thinks even bigger, as he wishes to work with teachers and students in universities, so that there are manpower and resources to reach out to more children and families.

Hsu & his children with the interviewer

“I really look forward to the day the Makespace is ready, so that more children can experience the joy of self-learning,” said Hsu. An easy idea like this shows us Hsu’s passion for self-making, and we can be sure that he will pass the spirit in sharing to more people in the future.