Education is very important to us here at NeMAC, and MIT–yep, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, famous worldwide for its engineering school–is trying something out that should make the Maker in all of us proud.
MAKE Magazine published an article yesterday where they mentioned MIT’s new admissions feature: a new Maker Portfolio supplement on the MIT Admissions web site which will provide a structured way for students to submit information about a diverse set of projects that they have participated in.
But let’s rewind a minute. In case you’re not familiar with the concept of a ‘Maker,’ it’s the technology-based extension of DIY culture. That basically involves anything from robotics, to 3D printing, to metalworking–really, anything involving the hands-on application of STEM skills.
MAKE Magazine is written around and about that culture, and they do a lot to encourage STEM skills in young people by posting about projects and experiments for Makers from all walks of life. The skills and projects that MAKE Magazine focuses on are very relevant to what we’re trying to do here at NeMAC, and we fully stand behind their movement.
Which brings us back to MIT. The reason that this is such a big deal is because typically, anything that Makers do is seen as a ‘hobby’ or a ‘side project,’ with little application outside of a very limited area. But by allowing applicants to submit their Maker portfolios with their college applications, MIT is both recognizing the legitimacy of the skills that Makers possess, and stressing the importance of STEM skills at the very same time.
It’s great to see MIT recognizing that Makers possess real-world, practical skills, and if other schools follow suit, we think that the recognition for STEM skills would be enormous. The more that STEM skills are cast into the spotlight, the better–and who better to focus on Maker skills and projects than one of the best engineering schools in the world?
What do you think? Do you see this going well for MIT, or do you think that Maker skills should be used in other ways? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!
Image courtesy of MAKE Magazine.