David Conover

Austin, Texas
Connally High School


What does it mean to be a maker?

A Maker creates and works within an environment (Makerspace) that allows for the construction of understanding through hands-on learning (Making). Makers come from all disciplines, includes all types of learners and provides a differentiated learning curriculum. The design of Makerspaces offers students the opportunity to create and collaborate as well as test, fail and demonstrate their solutions to real world problems. Students have the chance to work with Computer aided design software, 3-D printers, and desktop machine tools. Makerspaces are found in elementary settings that allow for creating and coding, and in high school settings where students are exploring project-based learning while connecting math and science with microcontrollers.

What are you doing in the Maker community?

Our work is about improving STEM education through innovation and making.

Our at-risk students are designing Serious Video Games for social good and in doing so, they are developing the working skills and the growth mindset needed for America’s future. These video games, which help combat Climate Change, explore Computer Science, Biotechnology spur innovation by addressing real-world challenges, such as the ones that NASA faces with its Space program. Building these Cognitive Computing video games involves programming Lego robots, and the use of the Internet of Things as student’s design Health solutions as part of Austin’s Smart City. Our CTE program includes making partnerships with international and local corporations, to help collect data, prepare certifications, develop STEM mentoring opportunities and to explore research driven teaching practices. We are equipping our students with the skills to compete in the 21st-century economy.

Who are some other Makers you admire and why?

I admire and give thanks to:

Dale Dougherty, the Founder & CEO of Maker Media, Chairman at Maker Education for creating the Maker Initiative.

Eric Rosenbaum, the Creative Technologist at Google for sitting down with me and personally listening to my Maker ideas.

Stephanie Chang, the Director of Programs at Maker Education Initiative, for bringing this blend of innovation and technology into the educational Spotlight.

John Cohn, an IBM Fellow at IBM, who helps connect the IoT dots.

Phaedra Boinodiris, the IBM Lead Serious Games Technology Strategist, for being a principal source of inspiration.