Arizona Technology and Innovation: Arizona SciTech Festival – Maker Faire

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The Arizona SciTech Festival is underway, with over 200 events throughout the state. Scheduled for February 18th at Arizona State University is the Maker Faire, an event filled with student and community project demonstrations, do-it-yourself activities and workshops and the Duel in the Desert scrimmage for FIRST Robotics. Dr. Chell Roberts, Executive Dean of ASU College of Tech and Innovation, will discuss the Maker Faire.

Ted Simons: An important aspect of teaching, learning and applying science is creativity. That theme will be highlighted as part of the Arizona Sci-Tech Fest, which features over 200 events throughout the state. One of those events is this weekend's Maker Faire, which is part of Maker Week, hosted by ASU's college of technology and innovation. Here to talk about the Maker Faire is Dr. Chell Roberts, a dean and professor in the College of Technology and Innovation. Thanks for joining us.

Chell Roberts: It's great to be here.

Ted Simons: Give us a grand overview, a synopsis of Maker Week. What are we talking about?

Chell Roberts: It's an opportunity to inspire the public, to inspire partners and inspire kids, K-12 kids and others to the idea of creation and innovation. It's an engagement with us and with partners.

Ted Simons: How do you do that?

Chell Roberts: Well, we have three events to do this. Our first event is called Maker Pitch. The idea is to bring in the public and let them present a pitch as a solution to a problem. Something real. The public can be a student, that public can be a teacher, that public can be even one our students and we have a judging panel and group of people that will help them with the pitch and idea.

Ted Simons: I like that particular idea because it's one thing to be able to build a better mouse trap, but you've got to be able to pitch it and communicate and articulate the fact that you've got a better mouse trap. That's important.

Chell Roberts: It is.

Ted Simons: Give us the second event.

Chell Roberts: It's called Many Maker Faire. It's an extension of Maker Magazine. It's a group that celebrates do it yourself and it consists of workshops and activities. And a competition.

Ted Simons: So like project demonstrations and competition, that sort thing?

Chell Roberts: It's a whole bunch. It starts off -- on the 18th. It starts off with Duel in the Desert.

Ted Simons: What's that?

Chell Roberts: It's a robotics competition. 12 teams. This is the first robotics competition.

Ted Simons: So Battle Bots, in other words?

Chell Roberts: Kind of a different competition.

Ted Simons: Ok.

Chell Roberts: These robots have a certain task, they have to follow a certain task and you've got moistly high school kids working on developing these robots and programming them and that's one aspect of Maker Faire. What we're trying to do that day is bringing in also and engage many children, students and public, to also get excited about the day. So we have besides this Duel in the Desert, the first robotics competition, we have workshops and activities. And for example, people label to come by and learn the science of flubber.

Ted Simons: Ok.

Chell Roberts: You remember flubber?

Ted Simons: I remember flubber.

Chell Roberts: Or learn about aviation through building an airplane or rocket and they'll have workshops in building and making and we'll have extreme technologies there. That's video gaming. And remote videogames and they can interact with games and remote control.

Ted Simons: That's important because you've got to get folks attention, don't you? You talk about creativity in terms of innovation and designing, you've got to be creative to get folks to be creative.

Chell Roberts: I completely agree. Philosophically, the way we go about educating and inspiring this innovation and creativity is through authentic experience. That's very important. To learn by listening is, of course, important but to learn by doing through authentic experience leads to people who become more engaged so one of the reasons we want to inspire, we see a great need in stem, as -- just spoken about that need. But we see the inspiration coming from a desire to create solutions to problems. If we say stem, exciting to somebody we want to attract. But if we say there are problems in world -- they can be in health and energy or learning -- and give them opportunities to pitch and create an event around real problems, they're creating solutions.

Ted Simons: The third event?

Chell Roberts: The third event is the maker -- Make Your Future event. That's a whole day conference. We're doing in that conference, bringing in young entrepreneurs, people who have started their own companies and we have workshops and presentations to help anyone who wants to do that. Create their own company. Learn from people who have gone through the process, to understand that. So maybe you have an idea for a new product. A solution to a problem and you want more than a pitch, it's the whole help and understanding what do I do? How do I get venture funding and take it to the next level? How do I create a business plan? It's all of those things taking place.

Ted Simons: Interesting stuff. How do you get more information on all of this? Specifically the Maker's Faire, the Mini-Maker Faire.

Chell Roberts: Google Maker Week.

Ted Simons: Maker is M-A-K-E-R.

Chell Roberts: Right. Put a space between it. And the first thing that comes up is the College of Innovation and Technology Maker Week, you'll find all the events and be excited and hopefully inspired.

Ted Simons: 30 seconds left. The best way to encourage students to be creative and think both in out of the box? How do you do it? What are we missing here?

Chell Roberts: You've got to give them opportunities to engage and do that creation. They've got to have authentic experience, and being encouraged to taking risks.

Ted Simons: Everything from building planes and learning about flubber. Even son of flubber.

Chell Roberts: Yes.

Ted Simons: And even as simple as origami.

Chell Roberts: We'll be presenting something on that as well.

Ted Simons: You've got that?

Chell Roberts: We've got that covered.

Ted Simons: This weekend and where are we going to find more information?

Chell Roberts: Maker Week, google that.

Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us.

Chell Roberts: Oh, you bet.

Chell Roberts:Executive Dean of ASU College of Technology and Innovation

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