Innovation and DIY

For the past couple years I’ve been fixated on how to bring the DIY/Maker ethos into academia. I don’t especially want to *study* this idea. I just want to do it.

A terrific group of students signed up to explore this with me well over a year ago. Learnmakecupcake.blogspot.com was the result. And they passed the baton to another group of students, who continue with makerbot builds and are now working on a wearables project.

Basically, I want to make people who would never consider themselves engineers more comfortable with science and technology and building things. Absurdly, this ties back to my dissertation nearly two decades ago, a dissertation in English, that was about romance writers (fact!), but was all about *production* rather than *consumption*. In other words, what does it mean when people (in that case) go from being readers/fans to being writers/creators? It turns out I’m still kind of obsessed with that question. What does it mean to create?

So there were these students who were up for an adventure. And together we’ve been exploring what it means to be a functional rather an accredited engineer. I don’t want to turn everyone into a mechanical engineering major, or a computer science major, or or or. However, I’d love for folks who don’t see themselves as especially technical to be able to make things. To be science and engineering literate without that being their professional, accredited identity. I think that might change how they see their relationship to the world. I think it might be a good thing.

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