About

 

A brief history of the Whitewater Makerspace

Our Mission

To create a collaborative, affordable, and inspirational educational environment where people at all stages of life can access old and new skill sets, cross-pollinate ideas, become active and thoughtful consumers, and become innovators who build healthy and sustainable communities.

Our Vision

Whitewater Makerspace wants to create a space for collaboration where young people can learn and share their interests, hobbyists can share their knowledge, "old-fashioned" skills are relearned and re-examined, and mid-career workers can gain inspiration. Every day we hear the laments of media, business owners, and educators that today’s American lacks the skills to compete in today’s globalized world. We want to provide an environment of participatory learning where it's OK to take chances and make mistakes, where one is encouraged to learn at one's own pace.

Our Goal

To teach people from all age groups and walks of life to learn through doing or “participatory learning”. We will provide afterschool classes with a focus on STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) education. We will train adults (and vetted high schoolers) on expensive equipment so that they can create for the 21st century. We will host “maker faires” where area tinkerers can show their inventions. We want to provide a community where everyone has a chance to learn skills that will make us better citizens. Our goal is to become an indispensable community resource: When something is broken, the first thought is not to throw it out or buy a new one but to “Take it to the makerspace!”

Background

First created in Germany, there are now thousands of makerspaces/hackerspaces  across the world and the U.S., because deep down we know that we need fun, informal environments to learn how to think for ourselves and create new things. The central motto of a makerspace is “If you don’t know how to fix it, you don’t own it; you’re just renting.” Makerspaces attempt to prevent the move toward a nation of renters, unable to fix their own cars, cook their own meals, or reinvent themselves after they lose their jobs.

We’ve forgotten that a large part of our populace doesn’t learn through a lecture but by getting our hands dirty, tinkering, apprenticing, and making mistakes. We’ve turned into a culture that wants to bypass mistakes and get the grade, pass the test, go to college, land a well-paying job, and work for someone. This facilitates rampant cheating or learning how to game the system. It does not facilitate true learning and true innovation. It does not facilitate entrepreneurship.