February 12, 2016

Make Because You Can!

Posted by Vandana Sikka (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:24 AM

InfyMakers at the National Maker Faire in Washington, DC

InfyMakers at the National Maker Faire in Washington, DC

Have you ever seen a child play, build something with blocks, then tear it apart and build something new again? A child learns by exploring the unfamiliar, trying new things, curiously examining the world around, often from different perspectives. This innate desire to seek out new experiences, to tinker, explore, create, destroy and remake, is a defining trait of all children. Fast forward 10 years, the acquisition of language has in most cases replaced a child's natural learning through creative expression with language based inquiry. Most education systems emphasize the acquisition of knowledge through rote learning and textbooks, rather than curious, hands-on explorations. Another 10 years later, our students have successfully acquired considerable knowledge but somehow buried that natural desire to create, and by now most believe that making is a prerogative of the select few.

The ability to create, to make physical and digital artifacts, is critical to our future. The future is, and always has been, shaped by those who can make. Indeed, human evolution over the centuries has been driven by inventions produced by ordinary people. Groundbreaking inventions, like the first airplane, the personal computer, the bicycle, the automobile, the light bulb, the printing press, all evolved out of projects led by tinkerers. And every such invention gave birth to a whole new breed of innovators who wanted to build on, and improve the original. In just the last 10 years, we have seen great advances such as smartphones, electric and self-driving cars, new forms of delivering energy, sensors and more. All these efforts to improve human life and make things better were led by people just like us.

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