Infy Maker Awards 2018: Expanding Capacity for Maker Education Across the U.S. 01/23/2018 Pictured below, Lab:Revolution is a 4-H technology playground and makerspace and previous Infy Maker Awards winner working with rural Missouri youth, including the Gadget Girls, an all-girls robotics team. Infosys Foundation USA is excited to announce the launch of the fourth year of its Infy Maker Awards contest! This year’s contest is open to schools, libraries and organizations in the U.S. focused on creating opportunities for K-12 students to engage in STEM, arts and design through Making. The deadline for applications is March 6, 2018. Winning organizations will each receive a $10,000 grant, a Maker education professional development package and travel support to attend Crossroads, the Foundation’s annual Computer Science and Maker education conference to be held this year on May 21-24 in Scotts Valley, CA. Making is important because it empowers students to develop their own agency and enables them to understand how they can have a positive impact on the world around them. Through Making, students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, have the opportunity to cultivate their creativity and curiosity and engage in meaningful, hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experiences. For example, in Greenville, SC, students are learning about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, understanding how these issues are relevant to their community and designing and prototyping solutions to these challenges. In Charlottesville, VA, students learned about the mechanics of design, construction and building to create a treehouse in their middle school cafeteria with the support of administrators and teachers. Stephanie Chang, Interim Director for non-profit Maker Ed notes that "Maker Ed's past research and experiences have shown how critical it is for educators to have access to resources, professional development opportunities, and a community of support, especially as they build and develop Maker-centered learning efforts. We are so happy to know that Infosys Foundation USA, through the Infy Maker Awards, is inspiring, recognizing, and providing exactly that to our next generation of Makers." The Infy Maker Awards aims to help organizations kick-start, grow or scale innovative approaches to Maker education within communities throughout the US. There are a variety of programs and initiatives led by other like-minded organizations that are actively broadening access to Making. For example, Maker Promise is a campaign to equip more schools with the resources and support they need to provide quality Maker learning experiences for their students led by Digital Promise and Maker Ed. The Fab Foundation has developed a community of practice for education in STEM through digital fabrication. Instructables created a curated library of freely available projects that educators can use in and outside of the classroom and Makerspaces.com offers resources for building makerspaces. Tony DeRose, Senior Research Scientist at Pixar and one of this year’s Infy Maker Awards judges articulates that “To prepare for the decades to come, today’s students need to develop skills such as creativity, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and the ability to learn on their own. The best model to develop these skills is Maker oriented education, which is why I’m so excited to be a part of the Infy Maker Awards.” If you are an organization who is supporting Maker education, we hope you’ll apply for an Infy Maker Award!