World’s first MakerDojo could help build a new generation of inventors (video)

7 Oct 201573 Shares

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Teens take part in the first MakerDojo at Tyndall National Institute, Cork. Photo by Connor McKenna

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Just as CoderDojo is bringing programming skills to children around the world, MakerDojo will teach and guide young people on how to get hands-on with hardware.

IoT Makers Week graphic

The new after-school club launched at Tyndall National Institute, Cork, this week, with a session giving local second-level students a maker experience in a dedicated workshop.

Science Foundation Ireland is backing the project, which will host two workshops each month – one for teenage students and one for the general public.

Midleton College science teacher Paudie Scanlon was excited to bring his students to the event and introduce them to the practical, DIY side of science, technology and engineering.

“I love that the kids are getting hands-on with the equipment and getting to use it,” said Scanlon, who compared the workshop experience at Tyndall with what can be achieved in the classroom.

‘I love that the kids are getting hands-on with the equipment and getting to use it’
– PAUDIE SCANLON, MIDLETON COLLEGE

“In the school they learn a lot of theory, and we do try to do a lot of experiments, but some of the experiments are very simple compared to the equipment that [the students] can use here,” he said.

“And the other thing is that they get to meet the researchers as well, which is brilliant.”

The MakerDojo model for the world

The Tyndall MakerDojo introduces young students to the institute’s primary research areas – electronics, photonics, sensors and nanotechnology – as well as biology and 3D printing through partners Biomaker Forma and DesignerDojo.

Tools available for the teens to tinker with included Arduino microcontrollers and LittleBits electronics kits, allowing them to assemble smart home electronics or experiment with a miniature hydrogen-powered car.

‘CoderDojo started in Cork, and they went worldwide, so we see no reason to restrict our ambition’
– SIMON ELLIOTT, TYNDALL NATIONAL INSTITUTE

Like CoderDojo – another movement that began in Cork – MakerDojo hopes to inspire other clubs and events beyond its city of origin.

“MakerDojo is a very flexible model, that can be rolled out by any group or institution,” said Simon Elliott, principal investigator on the Tyndall MakerDojo team.

“We’re documenting everything we do, so that others might replicate it for themselves. CoderDojo started in Cork, and they went worldwide, so we see no reason to restrict our ambition.”

IoT Makers Week explores the internet of things revolution and the makers driving it with reports on Siliconrepublic.com from 5 to 9 October 2015. Get updates by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #IoTMakersWeek on Twitter.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com