[hackerspaces] Spark 181 – Mitch Altman says hackers could raise $10mil

Jerry Isdale isdale at gmail.com
Thu May 10 20:47:32 CEST 2012

Matt Joyce said ...

> I know that nyc resistor pitched a grant proposal to the MacArthur
> foundation probably in 2009 or so.  We had floated an idea nearly
> identical to the hacker scout badges that adafruit and phil torrone (
> of make ) have come up with as well.  We did not get the grant.
> Which to my mind is a pity.  It would have been pretty great.
> I really think that a hacker scouts style approach is the right way to
> go about it.
> If you want to have a real impact on a kids education and
> opportunities the goal is to engage the parents as well as the kid.
> It should be a shared experience.  That's all there is to it.
> -Matt

I like the Hacker Scouts idea.  There is a group over at SchoolFactory.org that is working to organize this ...

One issue I have with the Adafruit approach is that while they provide the badges, there is no associated 'requirements' for each (at least not yet.)  Each badge needs a sample activities list showing the types of things that should be completed to achieve the badge.

As Mitch noted, the in-school space funding may be harder to get with makerspace.com already rolling.
What about a flipped school approach?

I propose the hackerspace community collectively create an archive of course materials for teaching various skills. This would include how-to videos, presentation slides, teacher support material, lists of materials, etc.  Skills would be the classic hacker activities - coding, soldering, metal bending, laser cutting, 3d printing, metal foundry, crafting, locks etc.  and also tie in more conventional school skills -- eg showing how 3d printing can be used to illustrate geometry, etc.  The course materials archive would get peer review, and require use of an open (Create Commons) license. Then schools, spaces, fablabs, and other kid/adult organizations around the world could access them online and use them locally.

On top of that we create an organization that solicits funds from foundations, etc and collects up the $10mil+, which it in turn passes on to courseware developers to support their activities.   This organization helps reduce the grant scramble that individual efforts would need to do ... and collects them so MacArthur etc sees one well done proposal rather than 20 lesser ones.

Jerry Isdale
isdale at gmail.com

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