The SMU Maker Ed Project icon-navburger Created with Sketch. icon-navclose Created with Sketch.

FAQ

What is Maker-Based Instruction?

It’s a way to teach skills and content by engaging students in designing and creating tangible, sharable objects. It’s much more than technical know-how. Maker-Based Instruction (MBI) can be used to teach any educational content, from STEM to social studies to literacy. MBI also builds problem-solving abilities, creativity, and affective skills like persistence and empathy.

How do I get involved?

We offer two different types of involvement: formal relationships with partner schools, and community programs. The formal relationships with partner schools are long-term partnerships in which we provide professional development for faculty and staff, supplemented with on-site MakerTruck visits. Our community programs are one-time events in which we partner with teachers for a short period of time. These programs include evening maker meetups for educators, social events in public with the MakerTruck, and open-enrollment professional development during the summer. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can start by signing up for our mailing list, which will keep you posted on upcoming opportunities; or follow us on social media for more information about what we’re doing. 

How can I become a partner school?

Send us an email. Tell us about your school. We can set up a meeting with school leadership to discuss what we offer and see if it aligns with your needs and interests. If it does, then we can work out the details of our partnership.

How do I get the MakerTruck to come to my school?

Get in touch with us to establish a relationship. We mainly send the MakerTruck to our partner schools, but we’re open to having some one-time engagements for things like a school’s field day, career day, or STEM day.

How do I create a makerspace at my school?

You don’t need an elaborate makerspace to get started with Maker Education. Before you create a makerspace, try implementing some maker-based projects right away with simple and accessible tools and materials. Popsicle sticks, glue, and cardboard offer many possibilities to begin. Next, we’re here to help! Reach out if you’d like us to coach you through setting up a makerspace or implementing Maker-Based Instruction. That’s what we do. There are also many other resources out there to help. Check out our Resources page and the MakerTruck page for more. 

What kinds of professional development and support do you provide?

We can do anything from an hour-long talk to a full-day workshop. The model we prefer, because it has the biggest impact, is an intensive professional development session followed by periodic coaching sessions. But if you’re just getting started on your journey with Maker-Based Instruction, we can do shorter programs. If you want to learn more, but you’re not sure where to start, we’d be happy to personalize a program that will work for you. 

What can I do to promote Maker-Based Instruction at my school?

Just try to roll out some Maker-Based Instruction and build it from there. Our philosophy is “Learn your way toward implementation.” Get started, even before you have a well-established plan. That might sound scary, but we’ve seen many educators’ worries about this approach to teaching and learning transform into a love for Maker-Based Instruction. Besides, learning through failure is something great teachers do all the time. Then, when you’re ready, seek out professional development to expand and improve your program. 

How do I get started with Maker-Based Instruction?

Take a look at our collection of Maker Sprints and additional resources, which includes our pedagogical framework, planning resources, curricular resources, tool cards, research, and inspiration. 

Do you do birthday parties?

The MakerTruck’s focus is on working with educators to make a positive impact on schools. So unfortunately, birthday parties fall outside of its mission.

Do you go on the road to visit other cities?

We’re based at SMU in Dallas, and most of our work takes place in North Texas. But the MakerTruck loves to go on the road. Depending on our calendar, we’re open to taking it for a residency farther away, where we would set up shop for an extended period of time. Get in touch to let us know what you’re thinking!

Share the makers experience!