MEP 036 Stephen Gilman Maker State Meet Education Project

MEP #36 with Stephen Gilman, Founder of Maker State

In this episode of MEP, Stephen Gilman from Maker State joins the program to discuss the maker movement, why its important, and “making” school fun.  Such a fun discussion!

Guest Bio :

Stephen started teaching in Harlem Middle School in 2000. He saw a lot of flaws in the public school system and decided to take it upon himself to make the changes.  After becoming a non profit after schools program administrator, he began seeing how to implement these changes outside of the public school model.

For the last three years, Stephen has been creating learning environments called maker spaces where kids can take a creative idea and learn how to apply it into a real life skill.

Along with founding MakerState, Stephen also founded the Carnegie Learning Center (a micro-schools incubator) and a founding teacher & dean of Bronx Collegiate (a public school grounded in Outward Bound experiential learning). His proposal for an experiential, badge and mastery-based school/learning model, “Student Union,” was a finalist in the international Mozilla and MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning Competition.

Stephen was recently named to the Professional Journal Committee of the Association of Teacher Educators. He is the president and founding board of UlsterCorps, a volunteer network in New York.

He is also the author of Nightshade, an historical thriller set in 1702 about a conspiracy to take over the Atlantic slave trade. Stephen enjoys pottery, beekeeping, geocaching, fiction writing, social entrepreneurism, making and playing games, and creativity of all kinds.

He and his seven year old Ben started MakerState together to bring their love of making and learning new things to kids everywhere.

Show Notes:

(02:16) Stephen’s background

(07:59) Tell us about Maker State, why you started it and what you guys do.

(08:54) Expeditionary learning model in a Bronx high school

(10:21) Asking the Center for Creative Education to let him try out the maker space idea that he’s dabbling in with kids after school.

(12:21) The MakerState Program

(13:43) Teaching kids fundamental math and science principles, computer programming, and how to build computer hardware using Minecraft

(17:10) Schools give you the students that they haven’t been able to help. Can you talk about the demographics and the age groups that you’re really seeing a lot of impact with?

(24:52) What sort of results are you seeing? Are you seeing early results or numbers from this implementation?

(27:58) How are your current public school partners responding? Do you think that we can get to a tipping point with these schools? Can we get from those early adopters to the early majority or do we have to build a completely new maker culture from scratch?

(32:22) If you could have dinner with someone you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?

* Ray Croc

* Benjamin Franklin

(36:20) How to contact and support MakerState


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Nick DiNardo is the founder and host of the Meet Education Project, a podcast series featuring entrepreneurs, VCs and thought leaders taking action on the future of learning. Nick has worked in education for 10 years, working for some of the big players (Pearson & McGraw-Hill), as VP of Marketing for a seed stage ed tech startup, and an independent consultant. He also serves on the board of directors for Argosy Collegiate Charter School in Fall River, MA. When he's not chatting about the future of learning, Nick is reading, traveling, golfing, or drinking a glass of whisky (sometimes, all of the above).