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Access & Equity in the Maker Movement

The College of Education's Educational Technology and Talent Development programs, in collaboration with Art Education, Engineering Technology, and Mathematics Education, hosted Dr. Leah Buechley's guest lecture event on October 3, which focused on access and equity within the maker movement and complications for teaching and learning. 

Buechley is a designer, engineer and educator whose work explores intersections and juxtapositions of "high" and "low" technologies, new and ancient materials, and masculine and feminine making traditions. LilyPad Arduino, Buechley's personal invention, is a prime example of those various elements coming together. LilyPad is a low-cost computational device used for creating interactive electronic textiles and has been important in inspiring females to engage in STEM fields. 

Throughout her lecture, Buechley repeated the themes of possible marginalization of people, interests, and perspectives in the "maker movement" and the field of technology. She drew attention to important societal end educational issues related to class, gender, race, culture, identity, consumerism (and corporatism), and more. Buechley's topical focus on high-tech and low-tech "making" was timely and engaging, opening doors for increased critical dialogue across the university community and Central Texas communities on equity and diversity issues that extend beyond the maker movement and technology. Their participation in this event bridged numerous colleges, departments, and centers, promoting enriched benefit from the ideas, multidisciplinary issues, and theoretical perspectives that Dr. Buechley brought to light during her guest lecture event. 

Dr. Shaunna Smith (Education Technology program) and Dr. Susan Field Waite (Talent Development program) organized the event with funding provided through the Faculty Senate Guest Lecture series. Video of the complete guest lecture event is available on Dr. Smith's The MAKE Lab website. 

Guest Lecturer Dr. Leah Buechley on Access & Equity in the Maker Movement