The concept of a make-a-thon came out of the challenge we faced when we wanted to share with other schools the experience of Agile Learning that we were developing with the Dayton teachers
Our hope was to use Dayton as a Positive Deviant that would become a catalyst for a larger transformation of the education ecosystem in Oregon.
At a meeting with regional leaders, Derek Runberg from SparkFun suggested that we create an event called a make-a-thon that would bring students, educators and community members together to hack solutions using software and electronics – an opportunity to taste the Agile Experience.
In January of 2016, we held our first make-a-thon at Chemeketa Community College. We brought 60 participants from around the county, most of whom had never written a line of code or ever worked with a circuit board.
We broke the participants into multi-generational teams and launched into a three-hour boot-camp on coding and circuit design. Right before lunch the teams were given three challenges to choose from. They had the afternoon to prototype a solution to one of those challenges.
What happened that day, which has been repeated at every make-a-thon held since, was something magical. Joyful learning led to real, deep learning, learning that manifested in the creation of something that each team could not have imagined before the day began.
Many of the educators in the room saw a powerful truth: that students can learn faster than they can be taught. Much faster.
Here is a videos from that first Make-a-thon:
YOUTUBE dLrzDCn6BI8 Yamhill Make-a-thon
We held our next Make-a-thon in October of 2016 in Willamina as part of the launch of the Innovate Willamina initiative. This event was held in their school and, like our first event, brought together 60 co-learners - the youngest being 7 and the oldest being 70.
YOUTUBE xbjJwFELAuU West Valley Make-a-thon
We then realized that we had never done a Make-a-thon for the Dayton community, so we then held an event back in the Dayton community.
YOUTUBE dWjV1m9qgQA Dayton Make-a-thon
Jami Richardson, who participated in the School Retool program with Jami Fluke, then asked if we could bring a Make-a-thon down to his school La Creole in Dallas.
YOUTUBE j2Vf8QXIhyc Dallas Make-a-thon
We went on to do two Make-a-thon in Central Oregon, before we attempted our largest Make-a-thon yet, with over 300 participants, at the Innovate18 event in March of 2018:
VIMEO 268417575 Innovate18
We are now in the process of setting up a training workshop next fall that will be training up educators from around the state to hold Make-a-thons in their communities.
Please just leave your name on the contact form on the Innovate Oregon website if you would like help holding one in your community.
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