It's been a while since we kicked off the $1k Makerspace project, so I wanted to send everyone an update!
After our crowdfunding campaign closed we received several generous in-kind donations from Newark Electronics for the $1K Makerspace -- this included Raspberry Pi's, oscilloscopes, and other electronics equipment. The combination of your funding and these donations put us over the top, and we're now prepared to roll out our first class of makerspaces.
The first $1K makerspace program is also supported by work we completed this summer with the Open Skills Network in collaboration with Bosch's Chicago Connectory. The result of this work was a list of around 50 skills (soft and hard) that align with 21st century skills identified through the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, academic research, and corporate needs. Students going through the $1K makerspace program will be able to articulate the skills they've developed as they achieve a certificate and college credit.
What this all means is that we have an interesting mix of collaborations between industry, academia, and government to support the expansion of this program when it's ready.
So, what's next? We're in the process of selecting five pilot schools to run under the project starting this winter term, and will be announcing them shortly. In addition to our five schools, we're collaborating with faculty at Joliet Junior College to service *ten* additional schools through a grant they've received to support the Chicago south suburban area. I'm optimistic about the program and its potential to change the way kids learn in Chicago and the Chicagoland area.
In addition to this pilot program, we're working on grant funding for an expansion of our program including industry collaborations and Chicago-area ecosystem building. This funding would support continued growth and expansion so that, perhaps someday soon, any school that wants to give their students access to maker-centered learning can do so.
Those are the updates I have for now, but stay tuned for more.