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Meet a Maker! Maker Faire Wayne County

Hello everyone,

Maker Faire Wayne County is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker Movement.  It’s a place where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.  Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers.  They are of all ages and backgrounds.  The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The Daily Record said it best: “Dubbed the ‘Greatest Show and Tell on Earth’; over 1,200 people flocked to the third annual faire at the University of Akron Wayne College the summer before last.  It was a fresh experience with favorite makers from previous years along with new makers and new things to see and do.

Maker Faire Wayne County 2022 is a go!

The University of Akron Wayne College is proud to host Maker Faire Wayne County for its fourth year, scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Plan to attend and plan to participate, it’s free!  Maker Faire is all about everyone showing off they are passionate about, their hobbies and crazy inventions.  Be part of the fun!  Projects of all ages are welcome: adults, schools, businesses, and kids alike.  There is something for everyone at Maker Faire!  We will announce soon when we will start taking applications.

We are proud to showcase Ohio makers who participated in Maker Faire Wayne County.  One of these people is Josiah.   He collects LEGO Bionicles, a line of LEGO construction toys.  Originally a subsidiary of LEGO’s Technic series, the line launched in Europe and Australia in late 2000, and in the Americas in 2001.  LEGO in 1997, the first time in the history, had posted a financial loss. Over the following decade, it became one of LEGO’s biggest-selling properties. Kids wanted a story behind those blocks, and to go with that story they wanted neat pieces that they could use to create their own play fantasies. 

At Maker Faire, Josiah brought his entire collection of Bionicles along with build instructions and explained the toys to visitors to his table.  Lots of young faire particularly enjoyed visiting!  We are thankful that Josiah revealed this important part of LEGO’s history and how important these toys were to kids of his generation.

Another person who participated in Maker Faire Wayne County is Greg Barbu.  He has been in the “maker” culture for a number of years and is a regular participant and instructor at Schantz Makerspace.  Greg is a semi-retired system designer and programmer who loves tinkering with computers.  His particular areas of expertise are Raspberry Pi and Arduino, the former a single-board computer that can run an operating system and the latter a microcontroller for driving hardware.

At our first Maker Faire, Greg created a tic-tac-toe game using a Raspberry Pi driven robot that uses visual recognition to identify your moves.  It is a computer that can see!  Children had a lot of fun trying to outsmart the computer that was literally watching their every move.

Rounding out our participating makers is Jennifer Winkler of Green Local Schools.  Her booth at Maker Faire was Laser Beams in the Art Room: How a Laser Engraver Changed Our Program.  The recent addition of a laser engraver to the middle/high school art room at Green Local Schools has been a pivotal turning point in their art curriculum and created cross-curricular connections with other departments. Using a wide variety of materials from recycled barn slate to acrylic to bamboo, the students are able to engrave and cutout custom designs by placing their drawings directly inside the laser.   

At Maker Faire, in addition to showcasing some of the items they have created, they had a hands-on activity allowing visitors to test out some of the ceramics/pottery tools they made using with the laser. 

Students in industrial classes are able to personalize their projects and add minute decorative details. The school now creates many of its own awards plaques as well as those for other districts. By stationing the machine in a universal space like the art room, it allows it to be used and accessible to a wide range of students of all ability levels, in grades 6-12, in a fully-inclusive environment. Additionally, the Smithie Art Club has used the machine after school to create artwork for fundraisers. Through these student-run fundraisers, the club was able to purchase a computerized, full-size, glass/metal clay kiln to further expand their maker opportunities. The new, specialized kiln, in turn has created more fundraising opportunities, continuing the cycle and expansion of the curriculum and learning opportunities for Green Local Students and the community.

If you would like to know more about Josiah’s Bionicles, Greg’s game playing robot, or the laser engraving initiative at Green Local Schools, please reply to this email!

Until next week,

Tom

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