The Big Bang of Maker Education, the Maker Faire Taipei 2016

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As the annual carnival makers everywhere go to celebrate and demonstrate their products, the Maker Faire seems like an exhibition of various craftsmanship skills and elements of science. It is also like a design exhibition that is very close to our daily lives. Still don’t get it? It’s basically a place where anything that might have crossed your mind, is being brought to life. Whether it’s technology, design, or a combination of different fields. This carnival doesn’t have a target audience, you can be a technology enthusiast, a craftsman, an amateur, an engineer, a student or a commercial presenter, you can be young, old or just about anybody. Everybody is a creative thinker and practitioner here, and anybody can be a maker.

This year’s Maker Faire Taipei was quite different.

Last year’s Maker Faire was held in many places over Taiwan, namely Taipei, Hsinchu and Taichung. It’s not hard to tell how the maker culture has made an impact in Taiwan and spread like wildfire. From the exhibition booths to activities and the conference content, each place has managed to show its unique local features. This is exactly why Maker Faire has always been great, because being a maker is more than sharing new technology and skills, it’s also about solving problems, improving life and fulfilling your values. People of different professions, ages and backgrounds will make different unique things. This is what makes this carnival so valuable, even in its fourth year people still looked forward to it.

Since last year, maker culture has become the new favorite of popular science.  Not only did the Science Carnival use it as a gateway to science, the maker culture has also become the new blood for academic research at the Popular Science Conference. The government is even starting to upgrade maker equipments and spaces in schools all across Taiwan, hoping that maker culture will become part of the campus life and even people’s daily lives. This has officially marked the arrival of maker education. Hence, this year’s Maker Faire chose “maker education” as their highlight, and they also worked with the National Taiwan Science Education Center to turn Maker Faire into the climax of the Maker X Edu Week. The Maker X Edu Week began from May 5th and lasted 4 days, works from both students and teachers were displayed, and there were many interactive activities like education modules, videos and workshops.

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“What do we have this year?”

First of all, it was full of uninterrupted activities of various kinds. Though the Hebocon was absent this year, a similar competition featuring useless/fun/original devices was introduced and just as exciting. Since last year, the competitive sport of drone racing was becoming more and more popular, and because of that, it has evolved into an obstacle racing and combat sport for drones this year. Participants get to enjoy the thrill of both flight and combat, and speaking of thrill, the ROBOCON-RBL was back in the ring as well, with a lightweight robot combat tournament to lower the participation threshold, so that more amateurs can join in the fun.

As for the workshops, they all fit the theme of “Maker Education,” and added various fields and levels of beginner experience; and for the conference topic, it was a combination of maker culture, the society and our daily issues. Quite a few foreign guests were invited as well. There was, the founder of Eyes, JAPAN Co. Ltd., Jun Yamadera, who is also the man behind the FUKUSHIMA Wheel project. He introduces bicycle-sharing in the disaster area, to promote city sharing and greening; another guest was Masato Takemura, the founder of FabLab Hamamatsu, which specializes in maker projects related to farms and villages. (Extended reading: http://) For local guests, Yuwei(虞葳) from Gufeng White Cottage(古風小白屋) was invited. The Gufeng White Cottage is a recycle station located in the corner of the city. They can bring anything from food waste to abandoned appliances back to life; and LASS, the Location Aware Sensor System is without a doubt every maker’s best friend, its founder was also invited. Mr. Wulong Xu(許武龍) granted everybody the ability to make their own sensors, share information and understand their surroundings. He also hosts an online show(哈爸給你問) to answer all sorts of questions from the users!

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Maker Faire Taipei 2016 Conference Agenda

Anyway, if you are interested in taking part in this type of events, be sure to do your best and bring your best work to share with everybody; and even if you just want to understand the maker culture or meet people, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before you go because there will be so many fun activities you can’t play them all! For the latest news, please visit the official Facebook page of Make and the Maker Faire Taipei official website.

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