What are some of the things you see emerging from the Maker labs? We were asked this question yesterday in a meeting with our Maker labs partners Tony and Christie from the Metabolic foundation.
The Maker labs is hosted at Di ISL on Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7pm. We develop project ideas together and guided by Tony and Christie we learn how to make things, fix things or come up with cool recycling ideas. An important part of the Maker labs now is our engagement with children. On any given day at the maker labs we have on average 15 children and young adults age 6 to 20. Some of these children know each other from the community or from school. What we make is sometimes determined by the materials we have available, we have made things from pallet boards, cardboard and newspaper.
Earlier when we started we were asked what were some of the projects we imagined building a solar dehydrator, a window farm, a tech corner for kids, chalkboard paint and a roof top garden. We also wanted to do some projects with the Arduino board and the Rasberry pi.
So far these are the things we have observed:
This week we are doing registrations for learners for a CXC Mathematics, English and Reading Programme at the Institute for Social Leadership. CXC or the Caribbean Examination Council is the certifying body for Regional examinations. It is the most basic requirement for acquiring a a job and gaining admission into colleges or Universities locally.
Many students graduate from High School without any CXCs and often struggle to get some after or end up having much more limited options for employment because of this lack.
At Di Institute we thought that if we were able to provide them with an opportunity to do CXC subjects, at a minimum Maths and English we would be helping them to open opportunities for employment and further studies.
As we began registration I became more puzzled by the situation and began to question our decision to offer Maths and English or even my view that CXC provided a solution.
We have been talking to youth 14-22yrs and this is what we have been understanding;
Are we trapping youths like these in a cycle of poverty with CXC preparation and qualification for these jobs?
So as early as 16yrs old youth are prepared to go and find a job.
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Our facilitator Umoja comes to the ISL on Wednesdays. He uses drama to work with the youth.
Today I observed a Dance/movement routine he ask the youth to do at the beginning of the class.
I was playing Need by Brookly Funk Essentials before he started. He asked me to continue because he liked the rhythm of the song.
When he finished the routine i asked him to explain why he had chosen dance/movement.
He told me he was trying to achieve the following;
One person said” mi like the movement because it give me a energy, mi just feel something from mi foot come straight up di whole a mi body”