Category Archives: innovation

Creating a Nation of Makers

maker_faire_976x490Here’s a Message from

Our Commitments to Making

Responding to the President’s call to action to create a Nation of Makers, and as part of a White House event kicking off the National Week of Making, the MakeSchools Higher Education Alliance is announcing renewed support for Making by universities, institutions around the nation!

In a joint letter to President Obama, universities, schools and colleges around the nation have pledged their support for Making.  We are doing this by investing in Makerspaces that are accessible to students across the campus, or serving as “anchor tenants” for commercially-operated Makerspaces; expanding access to university shared facilities and scientific instrumentation to Makers; allowing students that are applying for admission to our institutions to submit their Maker portfolio; supporting research, education, and service-learning that is relevant to Making, such as the development of new tools for desktop manufacturing, or encouraging students to serve as mentors for young Makers; and participating in regional efforts to create a vibrant Maker ecosystem that involve companies, investors, skilled volunteers, state and local officials, libraries, museums, schools, after-school programs, labor unions, and community-based organizations.

See our commitments to Making in the compiled commitment packet and letter to President Obama from the higher education community

State of Making Report

Further responding to the President’s call, the MakeSchools Higher Education Alliance has prepared a “State of Making” report that summarizes outcomes from 40 higher education institutions around the nation who contributed profiles of their engagement with Making. Using this information, this landscape analysis of Making in U.S. higher education explores the institutional perspectives on and support for Maker culture, and in particular the approaches to education, community engagement, and campus resource now being explored on American  campuses.

Recommendations for next steps by the Maker Education Alliance include development of clear definitions, metrics, and assessment standards to better understand and monitor student, program, and institutional success for Making activities and spaces; expand industry, community and K-12 partnerships; consider an institution-wide or even national “grand challenge” focus for Making activities; and share best practices and success stories among diverse institutions and higher education sectors.

Read the State of Making Report now – a community resource

Over the passt twelve months, we’ve worked with amazing universities, art and design schools, and community colleges around the nation who are committed to promoting Maker education and empowering a new generation of Makers — both within their institutions and out to their communities. Thanks to their effort, input and collaboration, reflects the exciting ways in which institutions around the nation are fostering new Makers.

Each participating institution has profiled their engagement through five carefully crafted 10-question surveys. These cover the the institutional perspective and support for Maker culture; projects and exemplars outcomes; leading campus Makers; Makerspaces available on their campuses; and courses which train new Makers. Collectively these profiles assemble a rich picture the range of ways that Making is approached in US campus. They are intended not just to provide visibility and transparency to the ways US schools are engaged in and supporting Making, but also to serve as a community resource to share best practice. This content is assembled as a publicly assessable and free resource online at

Now in the Week of Making, we’d like to recognize their contribution in helping to coordinate to advance our shared agendas in the higher education Makers-community. Through the content, conversation and community developed around MakeSchools, we hope to find incredible new ways to support campus Makers, increase K-12 and industry pipelines for students as well as enhance access and inclusion in higher education experiences and opportunities through Making, in fields ranging from the arts to manufacturing. These goals align well with the President’s goals–helping Makers launch new businesses and create jobs, dramatically expanding the number of students that have the opportunity to become Makers, and challenging Makers to pressing problems.

We invite you to explore

Find us at the National Maker Faire

On June 12th-13th, 2015, Makers from across the United States will convene in Washington, DC—to celebrate Making at the inaugural National Maker Faire. Occurring at the beginning of the “Week of Making” on June 12-13, 2015, the celebration gives curious, inventive people a place to share what they love to make.

MakeSchools will be at the Faire showing student work from CMU, Case Western and Bucknell. Join us on Saturday at 4pm for a talk about the Higher Ed Alliance, the state of Making report, and to hear the winners of our recent student competition “Making Impact”.

Find out more

Find out more about higher education and the Week of Making by visiting our microsite at:

And if you or your institution is organizing or participating in higher ed. related events for the Week of Making, please let us know so we can include them on the site!

Sustaining Momentum Through Creativity


Sustaining Momentum Through Creativity

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Lincoln, NH
#clifcommconf – @uvmcems, @_ubam, @VTMakers, @ChamplainMaker


STEAM and Maker Resources for participants

11:15-11:45: Speaker: Jenn Karson, founder Vermont Makers and Doug Webster of Champlain Maker Faire

11:45-12:30: Networking and lunch

12:30-1:30: Concurrent Sessions

MakerSpace: Hands-On Experience – squishy circuits, toy hacking, e-textiles, e-origami

Jenn Karson, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, UVM and Doug Webster, Education Coordinator – Agency of Education, Producer – Champlain Maker Faire

Note: Incoming Year of the Book schools will attend a mandatory introductory session, 12:30-1:30.

1:30-2:30: Concurrent Sessions – you will go to the one you did not attend first.

2:30-3:00: Wrap Up Discussion

Jenn KarsonJenn Karson founded Vermont Makers in 2011, an interdisciplinary collective that brings art, programs and ideas to museums, galleries, colleges, universities, K-12 education and public spaces. Jenn and her partners initiated “Vermont Libraries and Makers Spark A Culture of Innovation” in 2014, producing 28 summer STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs for 15 Vermont Libraries. She is lecturer and the director of communications for the University of Vermont’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, where she also supervises the FabLab, and a project collaborator for the exhibition “Staring Back: The Creation and Legacy of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon”.

0aabc24Doug Webster is an engineer, innovative thinker, futurist, and artist, who supports a renewed culture of innovation and enterprise development. He founded the Champlain Maker Faire and host corporation, CMF Inc., a non-profit dedicated to innovation education and advancing scientific research. He is past president of the National Association for Workforce Improvement, producer ofthe RETN TV Series, “A Renewed Culture of Innovation”, and works to strengthen STEAM education with the Vermont Agency of Education.

Courses and Workshops in 2015


PiezoElementsMapping Found Sounds

Wednesday, April 15, 5-8 pm; Saturday, April 18, 12-3 pm
The workshop will meet at UVM’s Fab Lab in Votey 122 on the UVM campus. Materials Fee: $25; call the Museum Education Department at 656-0750

Track the sonic footprints of Burlington and create an experiential sound map of obscured ambient noise inspired by John Cage’s experiments with everyday sound. In part one of this two-part workshop, participants make a simple electronic listening device by repurposing the ubiquitous and inexpensive contact microphones (piezos) found in old cellphones, computers, and other devices. In part two, participants discover hidden sounds and contribute to the creation of a unique sound map of Burlington.

Jenn Karson, Project Collaborator on Staring Back, and Supervisor, UVM’s Fab Lab; Griffin Jones ’15 Electrical Engineering

Courses open to non degree and degree students at the University of Vermont.

FabLabNew-655x415Innovate, Iterate, Make: The Art + Engineering in Rapid-Prototype Design

Offered two times in 2015:  An intensive Summer program and during theFall 2015 semester

Summer as part of the  Vermont Engineering Initiative:
2 weeks on campus 2 weeks off
CEMS 295 Z2

July 13 – August 7, 2015

  • July 13-17 online with pre-reading
  • July 20-31 on campus face to face
  • August 3-7 online

Read the article  “UVM’s Fab Lab Provides Play Space for “Makers” of All ages”


The first part of the course explores how innovators in engineering, contemporary art and architecture solve problems and advance ideas. Students will learn how to design using open source hardware and programming, handmade electronics and the rapid prototyping tools in the U of Vermont Fab Lab.

The first part of the course explores how innovators in engineering, contemporary art and architecture solve problems and advance ideas. Students will learn how to design using open source hardware and programming, handmade electronics and the rapid prototyping tools in the U of Vermont Fab Lab.

For the second part of the course, students plan and execute a self-directed and designed project. Much of class time becomes dedicated to “Open Lab,” allowing students access to rapid-prototyping resources of the U of Vermont Fab Lab. Assigned readings and teachings cover project management, presentation skills, and design thinking. The final project requires documentation of a well-developed product or concept and the presentation of an early prototype.

This class is of interest to:

  • Degree students looking for an opportunity to make, design and build with new technologies.
  • Professional creatives and artists who want to explore the use of contemporary art + technology materials and methods.
  • Entrepreneurs and business professionals interested in innovation and product development .
  • K-12 teachers who need to implement common the next generation science standards in engineering.

Fall 2015
One 3 hour class per week for the full semester

fablab(1of1)Maker’s Academy

(Vermont Fab Lab Workshop)

Pre college course (open to high school juniors and seniors)
2 weeks on campus 2 weeks off
Summer Academy Website
Ask a question

Read the article “Pre-college Class Goes Deep into the DIY Maker Movement”


This course explores how innovators in engineering, contemporary art, architecture and the DIY maker movement solve problems and advance ideas. Students will learn the basics of how to design using open source hardware and programming, handmade electronics and the rapid prototyping tools in the U of Vermont Fab Lab. This course provides hands-on experience with the Arduino microcontroller, 3d printing and laser cutting and engraving. Assigned readings and teachings cover project management, presentation skills, and design thinking. The final project requires documentation of a well-developed product or concept and the presentation of an early prototype.

Happy New Year

Here’s to wishing you the best in 2015!

We have some great events, workshops and classes lined up for 2015.  Explore the events and programs section of our website for details.

Happy New Year!



Seven Events this Fall

Here we are in September and it feels great! There’s excitement in the air now that school is back in session, we’re feeling high off of the successful production of 28 STEAM programs for Vermont libraries this summer, and weather in Vermont continues to be gorgeous!

Seven events this fall

1. Things ramp up starting with the South End Art Hop.








2. Vermont Code Camp is a full day event that brings together technology community members, students and profes

sionals from around Vermont and beyond. In 2013, there were sessions on a variety of software topics including programming, databases, web, business and more.

When: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 9am – 6pm
Where: Kalkin Hall at the School of Business Administration on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington, VT


3. Keynote address by Neri Oxman: Material Ecology: A New Approach to Nature-Inspired Design & Engineering

2014 George D. Aiken Lecture

Hosted by the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public

UVM Ira Allen Chapel
Parking available in the Gutterson Garage after 3:30pm

The speaker:


Neri Oxman combines breakthroughs in materials science (such as 3D printing) with design principles found in nature. Imagine a skyscraper made with concrete that can breathe and grow and “think,” or a chair that moves with your body.

More Information

4. Just two days later it’s Champlain Maker Faire!


5. Vermont Tech Jam


Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25

Memorial Auditorium, downtown Burlington — Free Admission

Looking for a tech job in Vermont? Want to scope out the local start-up scene? Then mark your calendar for the 2014 Vermont Tech Jam.

This two-day job fair and tech expo will gather dozens of Vermont’s most innovative companies and organizations all under one roof. It’s an opportunity for job seekers, career changers and students to talk with recruiters, participate in panel discussions and other programs, and find out about educational opportunities available right here in Vermont.


6. Vermont Afterschool Conference – We are offering a train-the-trainer daylong session. Join us!

  • STEAMy Stuff! Make, Create, Hack + Engineer
    Jenn Karson, Vermont Engineering Initiative, Vermont Makers
    A daylong immersion in hands-on STEAM activities with time for reflection and explorations in design thinking for educators and staff working with youth grades 4-12. Conference and registration information


7. Critical Making Discussion

We also have started a discussion about Critical Making that will likely continue in small groups. We’ll have more information about that soon.