Giving as a Core Value

Whenever I go to a conference or a maker event, I bring gifts. A small topo map of Virginia for the FabLearn conference, makerspace starter kits and business card flashlights for education conferences or personalized gifts for fellow makers at Maker Faire. I’m lucky to have access to a makerspace filled with shiny tools. The purpose of all these tools is to make things that fill a need for other people.

Makerspaces should embrace giving as a core value.

Educational makerspaces are for learning. Giving is a powerful framework for maker education. Teaching students to be producers instead of consumers, makers instead of takers.

It is no mistake that the Stanford uses gift-giving as one of their Design Project Zero activity themes. It is no accident that the most popular makerspace stories are makers gifting 3D printed prosthetics.

In my school part of our mission is to help students live a life of significance. When I help my advisory students with goal setting, the most difficult one is always the service goal. What can you do to help other people? Students struggle with this question. Making gifts is one way to help students develop an answer.

Service learning entwined with the concepts of empathy and giving can be seen in Brookwood’s 3D Design Problem Bank Project.


Student made gifts during Maker Club.

Kevin Jarrett had some nice examples in his Twitter feed recently.

Educational makerspaces also provide gifts to students.
Gift of access.
Gift of making.
Gift of empowerment.
Gift of knowledge.
Gift of confidence.
Gift of self-discovery.

Please share thoughts and examples about gifting culture in the makerspace in the comments of contact me on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach.