Making is becoming a very interesting topic. The maker movement, like most neo-movements, is underpinned by digital technology and enveloped by a culture which amplifies and fuels popular debate. Thinking back several years, digital technology was seen by teachers as emergent, and now, if pop-culture is any measure, ‘the maker movement’ is the new emerging. Interestingly, and the maker movement appears to have defined, perhaps for the first time, a particular self-image which has been rapidly replicated because of media. I am talking of course about the hipster.
The hipster, unlike the geek or the gamer seem is almost ubiquatous and in-group ‘cool’ among makers . Many of these seem to be geeks. They appear to be rebelling and seeking new counter-culture. This becomes mainstream almost immediately as a result.
Educators are not immune to this, being a maker-educator is as cool as being a Google or Applephile. With high-tech culture firmly embedded in a consumer sales cyles these days – it is expensive to be high-tech-cool. Cool people like think they are individual, despite the tropes they embed themselves in – cool people believe they are making the choice to be cool. This is hard to do if cool is firmly hitched to the marketing cycle of high-tech companies who offer marginal innovation to an existing product in order to maintain a price point. Of course there are innovations that impress even cynical guys like me, but since the iPhone the high-tech world offers radical innovation at a premium which exasperates the gap between have and had nots.
So are makers as important as they appear? Is making the counter-culture to this high-cost, high-tech consumerism? Can a good beard and an Instagram account fill some gap in education? What is that gap? When did we notice it? What were we doing before?