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More than 200 teachers, technology coordinators and district administrators from across Los Angeles County gathered at LACOE on June 24 for their first Maker Day.

The event was organized by LACOE's Instructional Technology Outreach department to expose educators to the maker movement and inspire them to integrate maker concepts in their schools.

The maker movement in education represents a technology-based extension of the "Do It Yourself" culture and is making its way into classrooms. The event featured a wide array of creative activities, from high-technology 3D printing to low-technology hands-on creation of wood items.

"I use these types of learning to recruit and retain women in science," said Sheila Tajeda, senior lecturer at the University of Southern California, Department of Computer Science, while she used a 3D printer to create raised designs on cloth.

"Making it creative and fun is what we need to give to our aspiring engineers," she said, adding that schools must find ways to engage girls, give them opportunities to make things with their hands and feel engaged.

"Girls' lack of participation in this important and growing area has serious consequences, not only for them but for the future of technical innovation," she said.

The shift to "making" in education represents the availability and access to new technological materials and learning through firsthand experience that satisfies the basic human impulse to create.

The keynote speaker of the event was David Thornburg, an award-winning futurist, author and consultant on modern computing and communication media, project-based learning, 21st century skills and open source software.

For more information on the USC Viterbi School of Engineering efforts to bring the maker culture to schools click here.

Watch a video of the event here.

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