by Shu-Yu Liu
Maker Education in Taiwan- Children’s Funtastic Creativity
Makers refer to people who like to build things and solve problems through practice. They find tools and materials to build their own works and always love to share experiences with others.
WE, Makers- The Origin of Maker Culture
Chris Anderson, the Guru of Maker Culture, once said, “We are all Makers. This is best known by seeing children so fascinated by painting, building blocks, or art and crafts.” Through the Internet, these individuals take us to the front lines of a Maker’s revolution.
This trend has also gone viral in Taiwan. The authorities in education in every county and city have been actively promoting Maker education for students to learn to solve problems, embrace creativity, and put theories into practice. It is believed that learning is no longer just a one-way conversation. Starting from 2016, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has made Maker education a focus of their policies.
Maker Culture Trending in New Taipei City- Creativity Shown in Robot Vacuum & 3D-printing
In 2015, the Education Department under New Taipei City Government took the lead in building a Maker Classroom at New Taipei Municipal Banqiao Senior High School, followed by New Taipei Municipal Jin-Shan High School, Zhonghe Senior High School, New Taipei Industrial Vocational High School, New Taipei Municipal Yingge Vocational HIgh School, and Jisui Elementary School making the same move.
Wood fired brick ovens for baking pizza, lightsabers, biomimetic bicycles, etc; these seemingly unrelated things are all created due to the Maker education at Banqiao Senior High School. These students have also joined hands with well-known magazines to improve the design for robot vacuums. Students installed a four-axis aircraft onto the vacuum, making it airborne, while there are also some trying to design a stair-climbing vacuum.
The Maker education at Jisui Elementary School focuses on the application of circuit boards and 3D-printing technology. A small set of circuit board DIY kit, with different programs embedded, can be used to build excavators, drive-by-wire vehicles, or countless other devices.
Classroom Creativity in Yilan- Observation through Hands-on Practices
Syue Jin Elementary School in Yilan County established a Creative Classroom many years ago. In the past, students could only put waste materials together using glues, which was fragile and hard to expand into other projects. In recent years, 3D-printing technology has gradually been integrated into their computer courses. These students once designed a sonic vibration cap for the hearing impaired. The sound sensors installed on the sides of the cap can detect the direction the sound is coming from and triggers vibration to inform the users of possible dangers ahead. This design was awarded in Taiwan region’s qualifying trial of the International Exhibition for Young Inventor (IEYI).
The emergence of Maker Culture has also changed the education system in Taiwan, where there are more schools implementing Maker education, purchasing various digital equipment. In this way, students can learn through practice and solve problems, while they are still having fun!