Make: Education Forum

Make: Education Forum Educator Event

The Make: Education Forum aims to transform education by focusing on the needs and interests of educators and their students by developing new technical skills and encouraging the process of creative problem-solving.

Access our video library of the 2021 Make: Education Forum and join a group of like-minded maker educators in our community group.

We hope you’ll join us for the 2022 Make: Education Forum in the Fall of 2022.

Give Us Your “C” Students!

Dale Dougherty

The biggest opportunity for maker education is to reach the students who are not motivated to learn by mainstream education’s methods and practices.  Making provides a way to engage students, especially those who struggle to achieve in school.  Projects can connect students with real-world problems, build confidence and foster a love of learning by doing. 

Making Learning Visible

Andrew Sliwinski & Dale Dougherty

In this conversation with Dale Dougherty, Andrew will discuss his current charter – to help LEGO Education transform from a toy company to an organization focused on learning. We’ll discuss how this is an opportunity to understand how play can make learning more visible, more impactful, and more motivating.  Andrew is a maker whom Dale first met in Detroit more than ten years ago. He co-founded and then went to work as co-director of Scratch at MIT with Mitch Resnick for six years before moving last year to Denmark to join LEGO. We’ll talk about the broad shift from knowledge-based to skills-based approaches in education, which is also a move from teacher as instructor to co-constructor engaging learners. 

The connection between the school makerspaces and community members as well as local businesses can help prepare students for future success in college and career readiness.  In this session, Ted and Emily from the Anna Integrated School District in Texas talk about how to create community connections and develop industry-based certifications that give your students opportunities to seek & develop skills necessary for the workplace.  A teacher with 22 years of classroom experience, Emily Burk is a Maker Integration Specialist in a 3,744 square foot public high school makerspace. Ted Mackey is the CTE Director.

Storytelling and literacy activities can easily become maker projects with the use of simple supplies and an understanding of linkage mechanisms.  After ten years as a classroom teacher, Rob began designing models made from cardboard, which became the subject of several popular books.  In this workshop, you will get step-by-step instructions on how to create lever and linkages projects with your students and directions about how to use that as a stepping stone to students creating their own stories.  You will come away with a clear understanding of how to create the mechanisms and see lots of examples to inspire you.

By tasking their students with solving real-world problems in small groups, instructors at all levels can transform even the most reluctant students into ones who are excited to learn. The solutions they come up with involve making physical things as well as digital artifacts. These might include novel experiments in the laboratory or out in the environment, and new articles on Wikipedia.  Prof. Steve M. Potter taught at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Caltech and Georgia Tech since 1986. His award-winning real-world approaches to enhance learning and student engagement are described in his book, “How to Motivate Your Students to Love Learning.”

NVIDIA’s Jetson Nano is ideal for learning and teaching hands-on robotics and AI. In this presentation, we’ll share how you and your students can use the Jetson Nano Developer Kit for STEM robotics projects. We’ll also show you ready-to-use kits, provide example curriculums, and present open-source robotics projects for your classroom!
Fab Lab El Paso is not just another Fabrication Laboratory! Specializing in K-12 educational programs, field trips, PD, and makerspace implementation, the grassroots nonprofit makerspace offers supplemental support to school districts located on the Texas/Mexico/New Mexico borderplex. Only a few months after launching a Mobile Fab Lab program, the global pandemic threw a wrench into operations, but in true Maker fashion The Lab pivoted and quickly produced an interactive Virtual Makerspace Tour, and three Virtual Field Trips to bring Maker Ed to students in the comfort and safety of their homes. Hear from STEM Education Manager, Michael Nelson, who has 10 years of experience in gifted education, STEAM integration, and Maker Ed. Find out how he and his team navigated the pandemic to provide unique and engaging educational opportunities and what their plans are for the uncertain future that lies ahead.
The Build a Better Book project works with school and library makerspaces to engage youth in the design and fabrication of inclusive media, including picture books, games and graphics. Using both low- and high-tech makerspace tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, Makey Makeys, conductive boards and craft materials, youth design, fabricate, test and refine multi-modal books, games and STEM graphics that incorporate tactile and audio features. These products are designed by and for learners with visual impairments as well as other physical and learning disabilities. Dr. Forsyth is the director at CU Science Discovery, a K-12 STEM education outreach program.
Good visual design can communicate powerful messages, but it is often overlooked in teacher professional learning. As director of instructional design and personalized learning, Sadie thinks that it’s crucial to teach design basics to teachers, so that teachers can design engaging content for students. In this workshop, we will explore visual design and communication in the classroom. In this workshop, you will engage in activities to learn basic visual design concepts like color, typography, & layout. You will walk away with design skills to put into practice right away, and resources to integrate design into everyday instruction.
Soundtrap for Education is on a mission to make music creation and storytelling simple and collaborative for everyone. Soundtrap is an online music and podcast studio that enables music makers to create, podcasters to tell stories, and students and teachers to explore communication and co-creation, in and outside the classroom. Serena was an educator for New York City DOE before she became an Education Specialist at Soundtrap. She was the Instrument Music Director at a middle school in Queens where her students learned music literacy, music history and participated in various ensembles like modern rock band, symphonic orchestra, and digital music.
How can we align making to curricular standards in areas such as math? Even the newest mathematics curricula do not account for the diversity of materials that young makers choose to express their own mathematical conceptualizations. Using examples from three grade-levels (elementary, middle and high-school), Jacob will offer educators a glimpse into complex mathematical conceptualizations made by students that embody elements of a creative exploration through topics of mathematics as a discipline – something that emerged through their unique maker process.

Through maker education, we can transform our communities into classrooms. Jordan Mareno of Project Invent will talk about how we empower high school students to build solutions to the community challenges they feel most intimately connected to. This session will highlight tools and templates for community mapping and engagement. Join us for a tactical conversation with the potential to unleash student agency, confidence, and empathy within your classroom.

Purpose, Projects and Power Tools: The BEAM Center Model

Brian Cohen, BEAM Center, NYC

Brian and his staff will talk about their work at BEAM Center to bring fabrication resources to a wide range of communities and public high schools in New York City. Young people learn to collaborate and create while learning skills in fabrication, prototyping, metalwork, physical computing, construction, and design. Together, we use traditional and advanced tools, technologies, and craft to honor the individual voice, celebrate the joy of producing something larger than ourselves, and inspire lasting sense of wonder and accomplishment. Brian will focus on how other organizations can copy their model.
Join Kelsey and Matt of CodeJoy to explore interactive remote robotics. Experience for yourself the joy, fun, and sense of accomplishment of creative robotics WITHOUT TOUCHING A ROBOT. Join the session from a computer, Chromebook, or tablet/phone and learn to code motors and lights – then SEE those motors and lights come to life, LIVE, in the CodeJoy studio. This is a totally new approach to robotics education – a fusion of substantive instruction with live educational entertainment. Think Robot Mr. Rogers. Come play with us, and stick around for educator-focused Q&A.

Virtual worlds offer a “metaverse” of options that can be used as learning spaces. So how do we enhance the maker experience and emulate it online? During this session, we will dive into a few examples, look at the features of several platforms, discuss how they can benefit maker education and take a closeup look at a virtual maker space.  Vriti Saraf, the CEO & Founder of k20 Educators will talk about how we have and can leverage these spaces as educators and learners to innovate within education.

Developing  design and spatial reasoning skills has proven to be a measure of success for improved academic outcomes. Workshop participants will walk away with helpful hands on strategies and tips to promote the development of spatial reasoning skills in their maker and STEAM programs. Kylie Burrett is a dynamic educator and award-winning designer. Kylie aims to help teachers and students fulfill their creative potential for success in STEM.

With a plethora of project models and program examples, Curt and Erik will describe Community Science Workshops, a network of 8 independent organizations throughout California and two other states. They’ll outline what’s needed to start one and highlight some recent successes. The original CSW was started in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1991, and serves 1000s of kids per year from the current site in Mission High School. Curt is the author of several books, including Tinkering and More Tinkering, published by Make. Erik runs the Free Science Workshop in Ithaca, NY and the Physics Bus.

We need to set up the same learning environments for our teachers as we wish for our youth. It is vitally important to allow teachers to experiment and relive the feeling of being learners alongside their students, lessen the distance between what it means to be a teacher and a learner, and create multi-developmental learning groups within administration, faculty and student body. At NYSCI Maker Space, we offer experiences that playfully explore concepts and materials/tools, where visitors creatively design and make things that have importance to them as well as their communities. Putting people at the center of their learning is a foundational concept in NYSCI’s Design-Make-Play philosophy.

Join David Wells as he shares how NYSCI Maker Space have designed Professional Learning Experiences for formal and informal educators and administrators worldwide to integrate the Maker Mindset throughout their organization. NYSCI has also developed a new book, Design Make Play for Equity, Inclusion, and Agency, edited by Harouna Ba, Katie McMillan Culp, and Margaret Honey, which combines new research, innovative case studies, and practical advice to focus on STEM experiences that are truly equitable and inclusive, and that foster young people’s sense of agency.

Geometry is a very natural fit to making, since its roots were in the practical creation of everything from physical objects to navigation. It also lends itself to 3D printed models and puzzles. Authors of the recently published Make: Geometry, Joan and Rich have created an open-source repository of 3D printable geometry models, as well as lesson plans for teachers of the visually impaired. We will discuss our design philosophy and approach and give some practical hints on developing good models to demonstrate math and science concepts.

“Amber the Maker”

Dr. Ann-Louise Davidson, Concordia University

Join us for a reading of the children’s book, Amber the Maker, written by Ann-Louise Davidson and Elizabeth Lakoff, and illustrated by Alina Gutiérrez Mejía. It is the story of Amber who was born with a right arm that stopped below her elbow. As an eight year old, she wears a hand prosthetic that doesn’t fit her that well. She begins researching how to design and build her own prosthetic using 3D printing. And so she visits a makerspace to learn from others how to make things.

Reach Challenge for Adaptive and Assistive Products

Gavin Wood, ITEEA

Learn about the REACH Challenge, a program from ITEEA that involves middle school, high school, and college students in the design of adaptive and assistive products.

Experiences as a Maker Educator (before, during, and after COVID)

Karen Blumberg, The Brearley School in New York City.

As the Innovation and Technology Coordinator at The Brearley School in New York City,  Karen works with faculty and students to integrate technology academically, creatively, and responsibly. Her expertise includes navigating social media, crafting digital projects that embrace new media literacies, building a PLN, supporting faculty’s professional growth, and launching a variety of original curricular projects which integrate STEAM. Karen’s session will focus on her work integrating technology and making through teaching Processing/P5.js in Math class, 3D printing in Spanish, 3D design in Latin, and LEGO Engineering in Science.

There are multiple opportunities for makerspaces and maker educators to support and enhance mathematics education. Co-founder of the the MathHappens Foundation, Lauren will share some of the “making” that mathematics educators are doing now, and the work that the Foundation has done over the past seven years using digital fabrication to build models, exhibits and displays, and the opportunities to increase learning opportunities for the community. Maker education can have a profound impact on mathematics, but we need to communicate and collaborate with mathematics educators and seek partnerships with informal educators.

Makerspaces can be a highly effective tool to deliver curriculum while engaging students in a variety of daily and long-term challenges and projects. Hawks Makerspace is in a K-8 school and Chuck has integrated its program with classrooms so that teachers can expand on each project within their own learning environment. Chuck hopes to show that Making can be a daily activity in classrooms even if a school has a dedicated makerspace.
So often, the perception is that hands-on, Maker-based learning lives exclusively within the hands of STEM classes, but this does not have to be the case. A history teacher, working with students from 8th to 12th grade, Preston will explore how one history class in Southern California remixed what had been a research paper into an act of creation for students. We will see the results of their endeavors, hear from them about their own experiences, and discuss ways to bring hands-on, creation-based learning into the Humanities. Preston says this presentation is “my answer to a question I have after every education conference on hands-on learning, “all of these tools are great, but how do I do this in my history class?”

Learn how to provide opportunities for students to design and create fashion tech apparel that tells a story or expresses a message. Twila is an educator with MakeFashion Edu, who will be joined by James Simpson and Carrie Leung, will share how Fashion Tech can be introduced into classroom settings. Students are encouraged as young designers to learn design thinking, technical skills, practical building skills, and most importantly using these skills to express themselves and tell stories for themselves and their communities. Student work is celebrated and exhibited to a public audience, usually in a runway event.

In this workshop, Rick will go over how to start and run a maker program in a K-8 school environment. As a maker educator, Rick creates making programs for K-8 students both in-person and during remote learning. He is a passionate educator and the developer of the “Compressed Air Rocket” kit, which is a long standing Maker Faire Bay Area favorite. Rick will share his favorite tools, projects, best practices and how he has built a maker program from scratch in the past five years at a public K-8 school. There will be plenty of time for Q & A and he will provide lots of practical resources for you to take and use on your own.

“But why do I need to learn about science?” or “I’m not good at math. I can’t do this.” Or maybe, “I don’t know how to do this. I have no ideas!” You probably have these responses from students. In this session, Sandy will show how to use age-old techniques of storytelling, asking questions, crafting analogies, and even sharing humor to energize any learner. In this workshop, learn to engage your students, connect them deeply to the content, build a creative culture, and, most importantly, invoke their sense of wonder by giving them the context and encouragement they need to explore fearlessly.
Learn successful techniques and tools for implementing engaging, creative STEAM projects in the educational setting. Tim is the author of STEAM Power: Infusing Art into Your STEM Curriculum. Tim will explore the process of establishing the maker mindset and review various technologies that are cost effective and allow for great creativity. We will also look at effective ways to take learning to the next-level by adding elements such as collaboration and community for more intermediate or advanced STEAM learning.
This session explores using zines as a medium of constructive instructional design, especially to facilitate creative mathematical tinkering. A recent graduate of Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), Kushbu will showcase Zine Machine, a paper-based math tinkering kit that uses two-dimensional mechanical movements to enable physical sense-making about mathematical functions. She will show two kinetic sculptures that use geometrical properties of hexagons and squares to create whimsical motion.
Bring an old T-shirt and scissors. Kathy Ceceri, author of Fabric and Fiber Inventions, will demonstrate how to use ordinary items like t-shirts to help students think like scientists or engineers — and learn a super-simple way to upcycle an old shirt into a handy carry-all bag! How does a ball of thread become a piece of clothing? Why does knitting relate to geometry and computer programming? And what can you do to find the STEAM elements in any activity? Grab an old t-shirt and scissors and find out!
Access to supplies is often a barrier to learning yet amazing projects can be made with the simplest supplies. Paper is commonly used for drawing but most people think to use it for 3-dimensional projects. Paula will show you a series of techniques for making hands on, interactive projects with just paper, tape & scissors. This workshop will get you cutting, folding and building while helping you plan projects that you can do immediately with your students.

Twenty Things

Gary Stager, Author and Educator

Fifty years ago, Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon published a remarkable paper titled, “Twenty Things to Do with a Computer.” This paper predicted the maker movement, 1:1 computing, and challenged schools to embrace computers as intellectual laboratories and vehicles for self-expression. Gary Stager, co-author of Invent To Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, worked with Dr. Papert for more than two decades and continues to work with Dr. Solomon. He is at work on publishing an all-star anthology celebrating the anniversary of this groundbreaking work.

In this talk, Gary will share at least 20 things every educator should know about Seymour Papert and discuss how standards established a half century ago remain aspirational.

Meet the Speakers

Karen Blumberg
Experiences as a Maker Educator

Karen Blumberg expertise includes navigating social media, crafting digital projects that embrace new media literacies, building a PLN, supporting faculty’s professional growth, and launching a variety of original curricular projects which integrate STEAM.

Rob Ives
Cardboard Levers and Linkages

After ten years as a classroom teacher Rob began designing models made from cardboard. He is the author behind “Paper Locksmith” and “Paper Automata”. Rob is now working full time as a designer and often visits schools and teachers courses to talk about design technology. Learn more about him at

Kylie Burrett
Spatial Reasoning Skills

Kylie Burrett (Lawrence) is a dynamic educator and award-winning designer. As co-creator of the Splat ® – Engineers Australia sponsored 3D design tool – Kylie’s creative out-of-the-box thinking is helping students develop their design and spatial skills for improved STEM outcomes.

Tim Needles
STEAM Power: Infusing Art into STEM

Tim Needles is an artist, educator and author of STEAM Power: Infusing Art Into Your STEM Curriculum. He teaches art/media at Smithtown School District, is a TEDx Talk speaker, and his work has been featured in the New York Times. He’s a National Geographic Certified Teacher, PBS Digital Innovator, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, and an ISTE Arts & Technology leader.

Chuck Stoffle
Using Makerspaces To Create Engaging Curriculum

K to 8 Makerspace and STEM Educator at MS Hetherington Public School in Windsor Ontario Canada. Chuck is STEM certified, coach of our Lego Robotics Team, a Math Specialist, and a Maker at heart.

Kathy Ceceri
Fabric Inventions: Maker Education with Old T-Shirts

Kathy Ceceri is a STEAM educator and the author of over a dozen books of hands-on learning activities with a focus on science, technology, history, and art. She has taught live online workshops for Maker Camp, written beginner-level tutorials for companies including Adafruit Industries, and worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA to develop robotics badges and a cybersecurity challenge. Check out Kathy’s books in MakerShed.

Sadie Lewis
Teaching Visual Design

Sadie Lewis is the Director of Instructional Design + Personalized Learning in the Mehlville School District, where she works to develop programs and professional learning around instructional design, technology integration, engagement strategies and best practices. She works with teachers to plan innovative lessons and activities, and provides classroom support to foster authentic learning.

Jacob Lingley
Re-Aligning Mathematics Curriculum With Making

Jacob Lingley, Executive Director, Brilliant Labs in New Brunswick, Canada, balances many passions: mathematics teacher, researcher, tinkerer, avid Star Trek: TNG fan and father to some young maker daughters. In his role at Brilliant Labs, Jacob is able to share the educational benefits of maker education throughout all four provinces of Atlantic Canada by supporting Brilliant Lab’s mandate of helping students and educators (K-12) create expressively innovative learning opportunities.

Jordan Mareno
Making Community: Discover Local Challenges, Make Local Solutions

Jordan, with Project Invent, is a seeker of purpose, guided by the belief that within every young person lies unique, world-changing talent. Previously, she was a management consultant at Brighthouse and worked with youth-centric nonprofit organizations across the US and abroad. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.S. in Business Administration and Political Science.

Preston Peeden
Making History - Fostering Student Creation in the Humanities
My name is Preston Peeden and I am a history teacher at the Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California. This is my eighth year teaching, and, in that time, I have worked with students from 8th to 12th grade, teaching courses as varied as Ancient World History to a study of American social movements during the 20th century. I got into teaching straight out of college, as a Civics and Economics teacher to 9th-graders in the rural Mississippi Delta. From that start in Crossett, Arkansas, I headed out west to the suburbs of San Diego, where I currently reside. In my free time, I love to read, write, walk with my dog, and (according to my wife) spend way too much time thinking and talking about school!
Lauren Siegel
Supporting Mathematics Education in a Makerspace

MathHappens is dedicated to creating math models and supporting development of mathematical experiences outside of the classroom. MathHappens was founded in fall of 2014. We have built partnerships with institutions that are destinations for families and individuals in our community. We bring math programming to their regular exhibits as well as special events and we have funded and built permanent installations as well. We are excited to connect with the maker community and educators from all disciplines.

Serena Robinett
Musical App Smashing with Makey Makey, Soundtrap & Scratch

Serena Robinett was an educator for New York City DOE before she became an Education Specialist at Soundtrap. She was the Instrument Music Director at a middle school in Queens where her students learned music literacy, music history and participated in various ensembles like modern rock band, symphonic orchestra, and digital music. Serena then taught technology at a K-8 school in Harlem for two years. Her students learned to use technological applications to share their voices and knowledge. They also learned to be digital citizens and computational thinkers. Serena is focused on the importance of cultivating and sharing student voices, building trusting relationships, and creating a culturally responsive classroom.

Meredith Allen
Musical App Smashing with Makey Makey, Soundtrap & Scratch

Prior to joining Spotify and the inception of the Soundtrap for Education team, Meredith served as an Instructional Technology Consultant at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Preceding her consulting, Meredith taught instrumental music, K-7 technology and facilitated the district’s Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders program. She also served on the District Leadership Team, served as the district’s Technology Integrationist, and assisted with the implementation of the district’s 1:1 computing initiative. Meredith has strong interests in elementary coding and was a CS Fundamentals Facilitator for She has held several roles within Soundtrap over the years and is currently posted as Head of Engagement and interim Head of Marketing.

Twila Busby
Advocacy Through Fashion Tech

Twila has been an educator for 25+ years and an advocate for project based learning for most of them. She believes that every classroom should be a makerspace as students learn best by doing. Academics and projects can be integrated so there is purpose in the learning and students should have many opportunities to show and talk about their work outside of the classroom. Twila is currently in Tucson, AZ after a 5 year stint in Shenzhen, China where she had the opportunity to collaborate with SteamHead and MakeFashion Edu.

Curt Gabrielson
Putting the Tools of Science into the Hands of High-Need Communities
After learning the most useful things in life growing up on a hog farm, Curt learned physics at MIT and education at the Exploratorium Teacher Institute. He taught science from junk in China, Timor-Leste, India and California. He worked at Mission Science Workshop for 2 years, started and ran the Watsonville CSW for 11, and worked beside José Sánchez at the Greenfield CSW for 2. His partner and 2 kids are his most successful science project, and he’s penned 5 books in English and several in Tetun, Timor-Leste’s language. He thinks the world would work better if every kid had access to a shop and a farm.
Joan Horvath
Rich Cameron
Making Geometry Accessible to All

Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron are the co-founders of Nonscriptum LLC, a consulting and training partnership focused on 3D printing and open-source technologies. Since 2015, Joan and Rich have collaborated on eight books (most recently “MAKE: Geometry”) and many LinkedIn Learning courses. They also have taught many educators how to get started with 3D printing and use the technology effectively in their classrooms. Joan is a recovering rocket scientist and alumna of MIT and UCLA, and Rich is a RepRap 3D printer innovator whose designs include the RepRap Wallace and Deezmaker Bukito.

Rick Schertle
The Nuts and Bolts of Starting and Running an Integrated K-8 Maker Program
After teaching middle school language arts and social students for 23 years, Rick was hired to start the maker program at a new K-8 STEAM School opening in his district in San Jose, CA. Now 6 years in, teaching over 350 students a week, Rick is continuing to improve and grow his program. Rick’s a lifelong maker and has been involved in the maker movement through his involvement with Maker Faire and writing many articles and two books for Make: His current projects include DIY R/C airplanes, rockets, bench top manufacturing and electronics.
Cath Fraise
Trends in Virtual Learning Spaces
Cath Fraise is the founder of Workspace Education, 100 Roads, and her latest endeavor, WorkspaceSKY Teens, a virtual campus for education. She started her career as a public high school teacher to reform education and realized the importance of the right environment and culture to maximize the potential of every human. After three AMI Montessori certifications and 10 years of project-based homeschooling, she set about to create a low-cost private alternative to traditional school that is adaptable, flexible, and allows for authentic personalization for every child as well as a platform for authentic creative self-expression.
Matt Chilbert
Interactive Remote Robotics with CodeJoy

Matt Chilbert, CodeJoy’s director, is an educational media producer with 10+ years of classroom experience and 20+ years of experience in filmmaking, including working at Sesame Workshop and the Jim Henson Company. He specializes in creating story-driven learning experiences that use filmmaking techniques to keep kids’ minds focused on learning goals.

Steve Potter
How Real-world Problems Enhance Motivation in Students and Teachers

Prof. Steve M. Potter taught at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Caltech and Georgia Tech since 1986. His award-winning real-world approaches to enhance learning and student engagement are described in his book, “How to Motivate Your Students to Love Learning.” He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, where he and his research group created the first embodied cultured networks to study learning at the cellular and network levels. He left the ivory tower in 2015 to become a freelance maker, scientific consultant, writer, and maker workshop teacher in Ireland.

Kelsey Derringer
Interactive Remote Robotics with CodeJoy

Kelsey Derringer, CodeJoy’s on-screen teacher, is an educator with 18+ years of classroom and professional development experience. She specializes in teaching robotics and coding to non-CS teachers, helping them bring creative robotics into other subject areas.

Vriti Saraf
Trends in Virtual Learning Spaces

Vriti Saraf is an educator & founder. She has worked with public, private, and charter schools both locally & internationally, across the k20 spectrum. An alumna of Teach for America & Relay Graduate School, Vriti served as a teacher, dean of instruction, and network director of professional learning at Ascend Public Charter Schools, where she built the network’s first teacher residency program. At the same time, she worked with first year teachers as an adjunct professor at Relay. Most recently, she spent several years building schools around the world with Whittle School & Studios. As Global Director of Professional Learning, she constructed the professional learning and growth infrastructure for educators. Vriti is currently the CEO & founder of k20 Educators.

Andrew Sliwinski
Making Learning Visible

Andrew Sliwinski is the Head of Product Experience at LEGO Education. His work focuses on the intersection between learning, creativity, and technology. Prior to joining LEGO, Andrew served as the Co-Director of Scratch at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – an online community and tool for kids to explore their creativity through computing which reaches millions of children every year. Andrew also co-founded the learning organization DIY Co. which was acquired by LittleBits in 2018. As a designer, engineer and maker, Andrew has worked with various organizations and partners during his career including Google, Raspberry Pi, Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard, Universal Music Group, and The Aspen Institute. His work as a creative technologist has been displayed at The Museum of Modern Art, The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall and has been profiled by The New York Times, NPR, Wired, and Fast Company.

Gavin Wood
Reach Challenge For Adaptive And Assistive Products
Gavin Wood has been a STEM educator for 19 years and holds a Masters in Education. His focus on engineering for social good, design-thinking, and developing an ecosystem of innovation with his students has earned him numerous recognitions, including the FIRST Robotics Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, the ITEEA Teacher Excellence Award, and the Lawrence W. Prakken Professional Cooperation Award. Wood and his wife, Andrea, founded Iterate Innovations LLC in 2019 to help create innovative STEM education curriculum, such as REACH Challenge, and provide educational consulting services.
Godwynn Morris
Engineering with Paper

Godwyn Morris is the Director of two programs in New York City, Dazzling Discoveries, a STEAM education center for grade school age children and Skill Mill NYC a maker space and digital fabrication studio for adults and teens. She is also the inventor of Dazzlinks Cardboard Engineering kits and Engineering with Paper, downloadable packets. Godwyn has been working and creating with educators and children for more than 20 years. She is an advocate of making, mixing, trying, testing and playing, all with the aim of teaching creative thinking and problem solving skills to kids and adults. She works with hundreds of students and teachers every year in classes, camps and professional development workshops. Her expertise is helping educators bridge the gap between teaching content and expanding hands on exploration.

Brian Cohen
Purpose, Projects And Power Tools: The BEAM Center Model

Brian Cohen is Executive Director of Beam Center, a Brooklyn-based non-profit that supports young people and their communities to learn, grow and flourish through ambitious collaborative project-making. The Beam Center now serves 7,000+ students annually at their camp in New Hampshire, and in NYC through partnerships with 30 public schools, and Apprenticeship and Youth Employment programs.

Emily Burk
Makerspace Community and School Connections
Emily Burk is a Maker Integration Technology Specialist in a 3,744 square foot public high school makerspace in the North Texas area. Emily has had 22 years of experience in the classroom varying from fine arts, English-Language Arts, career and technical education, and media and technology integration. She has a passion for project-based learning, making learning applicable and relevant to all learners, and providing all students equitable access to maker education.
Asier Arranz
Introducing AI Robotics Using NVIDIA’s Jetson

Asier loves to surf new technology waves, making them approachable for newcomers and helping experienced developers make new breakthroughs. Before joining NVIDIA he has been a VR developer (FB Oculus Launchpad), worked on block-chain (Consensys, NY) and Quantum Computing (IBM Research, NY). At NVIDIA he helps universities, maker & developer communities to adopt NVIDIA Jetson as the most powerful and cost-effective platform for Edge AI.

Erik Herman
Putting the Tools of Science into the Hands of High-Need Communities

When Erik isn’t cracking himself up with his own puns to the eye-rolling of his wife and two teens, he’s either making music or straddling tinkering and academia. Despite much failing at school–even repeating entire years of it–he ultimately earned a Master of Arts in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona. He enjoys the stress-free, boredom-free, follow-a-whim ‘flow state’ of creating things with junk, amassing an arsenal of wacky exhibits that ride aboard the Physics Bus. Now he splits most of his time between the Free Science Workshop and Cornell University, convinced that a bridge can be made between the two seemingly disparate worlds. He believes that a cultural revolution is overdue and that CSWs are a nucleation site for the way forward.

Khushbu Kshirsagar
Zine Machine: A Tinkering Kit Involving Math
Khushbu is an Engineer, Maker and Educator. She’s interested in creating hands-on learning experiences at an intersection of Art and Technology mainly in informal spaces such as museums, libraries, and makerspaces. Her work follows an interdisciplinary approach to making at an intersection of engineering design, art and mathematics. As a maker, she finds herself more intrigued by the “making process” than the final product and she finds it as expressive as story-telling. She designs educational technologies in the form of interactive mechanical art, paper zines and postcards; with the intention to take one away from the computer screen, and to enable accessibility.
Kat Penzcover
Build a Better Book Project

Dr. Kathryn Penzkover is the Assistant Director at CU Science Discovery, a K-12 STEM education outreach program based at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Co-Lead of the Build a Better Book project. Kathryn’s educational background is in Biological and Chemical Engineering and she brings a creative engineering perspective to a wide array of STEM and maker education programs for K-12 students and teachers.


David Wells
Design Make Play: Practice What You Teach

David Wells, Director of Maker Programming at the New York Hall of Science, is responsible for all programming and activities in NYSCI’s Maker Space. He oversees the design and implementation of maker-related programs which engage families, students, and visitors of all ages. He also works with formal and informal educators to create and implement maker activities and maker spaces in their setting. A self-proclaimed “maker of things”, David also designs sight specific interactive art installations using discarded technology, audio experimentation, and digital media to create an interesting yet whimsical experience for his viewers. During his time at NYSCI, he has worked on a wide variety of projects including designing exhibits for the Early Childhood space, developing emergent curriculum for educational programming and creating educational videos for teachers and students. He received his B.F.A. from F.I.T. and a Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street.

Paula Frisch
Engineering with Paper

Paula Frisch is a visual artist, educator and lifelong maker. She is Assistant Director of Dazzling Discoveries STEM Education Center and a co-creator of their Engineering with Paper initiative. Paula holds an MFA from Social Practice Queens CUNY and is currently pursuing an MA in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College Columbia University.

Michael Nelson
A Fab Lab’s Response to STEM Distance Learning
Michael Nelson is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Social Studies and Secondary Education. Since 2013 he has worked on Gifted and Talented program design and has served the El Paso community through after school programs, summer camps, hands-on field trips, and competitions all designed around STEAM integration. Mr. Nelson has presented at local and state educational conferences, and has trained teachers in professional development on Makerspace skill sets and the use of 3D printers, Virtual Reality, Animation, Coding, and Robotics.
Ted Mackey
The School Makerspace & Community Connections
I was blessed as a young kid to have access to a Dad (Steph) that was an Electronic Engineer for NCR. A soldering iron in my hands at an early age. I had 2 computers at the age of 15. Was a member of an advanced program that placed students in a “Science Research” class in high school. Taking things apart, breaking things, and solving problems became my norm at an early age. While in the USAF, I was fortunate to be trained by one the GREATEST trainers around! He allowed me to FAIL without regret! My many experiences have caused me to develop a passion to see staff and students be placed in like situations! Having the freedom to EXPLORE and DEVELOP skill through failure is my PASSION!
Sandy Roberts
Why Wonder Matters: Creating Authentic Connections
Sandy Roberts has been a certified STEM educator for over 13 years. She shares her love of science, engineering, technology, and maker activities through her business, Kaleidoscope Enrichment, as a host for Maker Camp, as Makerspace Coordinator for the Warren County Library System, and as the author of The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. As a scientist, a teacher, and a mom, she loves to learn with her students as they create and innovate.
Carrie Leung
Advocacy Through Fashion Tech

Carrie Leung is a maker-educator focused on building open community platforms for young makers, educators, and industry to collaborate, learn, and connect. She has spent eight years in Shenzhen, China teaching in project-based learning classrooms and exploring ways to embed the maker mindset and real-life experiences into education. Afterwards, she set up an Electronics and Media program at High Tech High in California. Outside the classroom, she built non-profit programs and spaces, MakeFashion Edu and SteamHead, to connect her community of schools, teachers, and companies with each other and to leverage the amazing technology manufacturing resources that Shenzhen is famous for.

Ann-Louise Davidson
“Amber The Maker”
I was born curious. I spent the better part of my childhood asking every question I could think of and admiring people who could do things with their hands, people who could fix broken bicycles, leaky faucets, radios and television sets. Still today, I spend most of my time asking questions and imagining things that don’t exist. In my day job, I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Education. I hold the Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture and I am the Director of the Concordia University Innovation Lab I am also Associate Director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology.
Dale Dougherty
Give Us Your “C” Students!
DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine in 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually up until COVID-19 hit. He is President of Make: Community, which seeks to nurture and grow the worldwide community of makers through publications, events and online resources. Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of “Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities” with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.
James Simpson
Advocacy Through Fashion Tech

James is empowering Maker Ed teachers, students, and schools with techniques and formalization of their makerspace programs. Living in Shenzhen for the 8 years, coming from San Francisco, he is using his engineering and academic mindset to organize the chaotic world of Making into a system of learnable innovation by releasing Open Source tools, hosting public meetings, and donating time to organizations in Shenzhen, California, and Arizona. The SteamHead makerspace he set up and community in Shenzhen ran possibly the first foreign funded and staffed maker education program in China.

Dr. Gary Stager
Twenty Things

Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at Learn more about Gary at

Stacey Forsyth
Build a Better Book Project

Dr. Stacey Forsyth is the director at CU Science Discovery, a K-12 STEM education outreach program based at the University of Colorado Boulder. She has more than 15 years of experience overseeing STEM education initiatives, including summer camps, after school classes and community outreach programs. She has managed the Build a Better Book project for the past five years, connecting interested makers and educators with community partners to help address real-world needs.

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If you have concerns about the affordability of the Make: Education Forum, we encourage you to reach out and we will take your situation into consideration. We do not want a registration fee to prevent maker educators from participating; we will work with you on a case-by-case basis to find the appropriate fee and help you attend the Make: Education Forum. 

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