Week 9 | Argue a Point | Maker Movement

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      Michalina Lisik

      Throughout the tutorial this week, The Maker Movement and Maker culture was investigated. Resources and discussions surrounding this topic, focused on why this culture has developed from individual pursuits in engineering oriented and traditional activities. However, human history identifies the continued development and creation of products starting tens of thousands of years ago. Beginning from basic tools for hunting, leading to our current technological era, humans have exhibited a continued pursuit in creating and developing tools and solutions. Despite our consistent historical growth in creativity, an investigation has lead me to identify the ‘Maker Movement’ as a particularly significant aspect within our modern era. I will argue that the Maker Movement is of strong significance and offers more opportunities for advancement, in reflection of historical eras.

      Technopedia (2015), defines the Maker Movement (MM) as ‘…a trend in which individuals…create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device.’ Drawing from this, Morin (2013) suggests the basis of the MM is ‘…DIY…coined much more broadly to describe any activity that uses an element of creative skills to make or design something on your own.’

      The MM seems to identify a cross over between the ever-evolving human need to create solutions for every day life and the modern opportunity within our technological context. Prior our current modern era, the industrial age was in full steam (no pun intended). Individuals thought less and less independently, depending more on the efficiency of mass production. Information on how to create and engineer was minimal. In addition to a lack of information, resources required to develop and create products were also relatively inaccessible. Interestingly Morozov (2015) suggests the solution to dwindling interest and creation of objects during this industrial age was to provide ‘technical education…[which] would stimulate demand…and encourage more workers to take up craftsmanship…’

      Over a century after an Arts and Crafts crisis was identified within the western world, our MM has offered a solution. No longer is information inaccessible, with an increase in open source learning. According to Morin (2013), ‘…people [are] able to freely share ideas and spread inspiration across the web, makers are forming communities of their own, and more people around the world are becoming influenced to be makers.’ It is evident technology has facilitated increased information access and communication globally.

      Another significant aspect to the current Maker Movement context would be the powerful personal technology available to most independent inventors, designers and tinkerers (Bajarin, 2014). Many use ‘DIY in a more technical context as it relates to making gadgets like robots, printers and other programmable devices hacked together using free software and tools found across the web.’ (Morin, 2013). Hardware has therefore also impacted the creative opportunities of ‘makers’ within this culture.

      The combination of accessible information and ever-evolving technology, has evidently fuelled our existing human desire to develop and improve. Despite humankind’s creative evolution, the MM has jumpstarted DIY and creative minds to a new level. This will have a highly transformative impact in our future, providing more individuals with the information and resources to create and research. Despite history’s continued development in research and creativity, the MM has most certainly increased our future capabilities in an arguably exponential form. As Morin (2013) powerfully states, ‘…this is a special time in history.’

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