Yep, you read the title correctly; I dropped the mic at the White House.
This whole event happened very, very quickly. I got an email last Tuesday about a MakerSpace event at the US Patent and Trade Office in Alexandria, VA. The Sunday afternoon event (and very random date and time, even for the unconference crowd) peeked my interest, as it was one of the rare times where the federal government was dipping their toes into murky waters. I was on the fence until I got another email from a colleague working at The White House. The email was a simple one; come join us at the White House for a conversation with other leaders from around the country, focusing on the Maker movement.
As the proclamation states above, this is the second year that the President has claimed June 11-18 as the National Week of Making. The Week of Making is an important one in education for many reasons; most importantly, showing that ingenuity is the catalyst for growth. Small minds are creating for big problems. The maker concept (maker-space, mobile-maker, STEM, STEAM, digital shop, whatever you wish to call it) is allowing our learners to create, engage, and explore with their hands.
Several teachers, librarians, principals, and superintendents had the chance to partake in the actual process and model on Sunday at the US Patent & Trade Office in Alexandria, Virginia. While it’s always cool to see such a variety of folks together for a common cause (ranging from DC librarians to teachers from Alaska), it was a great surprise to see so many of my PLN from Twitter in person! Mike Lubelfeld, Nick Polyak, Matt Miller, and many others; it was a GREAT time. The USPTO asked what was our biggest takeaway was — mine was learning about the USPTO Education & Outreach program. Did you know that the USPTO offers a whole PD program for teachers AND students? Inventions and making go hand in hand with the patent. Please check out what USPTO have to offer by clicking here.
Then comes the big morning. After walking to the White House and getting through the myriad of security (side note – all of those security snafu’s you hear about at the White House – hogwash. It’s one of THE MOST intense security measures you can go through) and boom… it hits you. We are in THE WHITE HOUSE!
It was a superb morning of conversations and sharing from the Department of Ed, EOP officials, funders, administrators, and, of course, teachers. We got to give some summaries in the end, and well, I did, in Jay style.
Before you knew it, it was time to go home. I still don’t think I can process what happened. By far, one of the BEST days as an educator, period.