How FutureMakers is reaching young tinkerers in Baltimore city - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Aug. 29, 2014 9:00 am

How FutureMakers is reaching young tinkerers in Baltimore city

The Baltimore City Robotics Center is home base for the "mobile makerspace," which is hosting an event during next month's Baltimore Innovation Week.

A Primo.io device that teaches kids how to program, without having to use a computer.

(Photo courtesy of FutureMakers)

FutureMakers is a roving educational organization partnering with organizations from Rising Sun, Md., to Loudon County, Va.

Founder Matt Barinholtz describes it as a mobile makerspace.

The organization provides hands-on skill-building workshops for children — outfitting kids with tools, not just toys. FutureMakers was founded in 2012.

For 2014, Barinholtz set his sights on Baltimore, with three main goals:

  • Be based in the city. With the help of Baltimore tech scene connector Ed Mullin, FutureMakers moved into the Baltimore City Robotics Center, near the B&O Railroad Museum. By establishing Baltimore city as its home base, FutureMakers has been able to strengthen connections with aligned groups.
  • Bring making into more schools. FutureMakers has developed partnerships with Baltimore organizations such as Young Audiences, the Baltimore County Public Library and local schools, in an effort to broaden its pool of potential enrollees.
  • Grow partnerships. FutureMakers is working with local community colleges and strengthening relationships with agencies like the Maryland State Department of Education. Doing so has helped the organization reach hundreds of students across a range of grade levels.

FutureMakers was able to accomplish those goals in a short amount of time.

From weeklong woodworking workshops to robotics offerings, FutureMakers hosts a variety of programs that shape the minds of young makers. Its classes are led by a stable of 21 coaches and educators from all over the region. FutureMakers just completed its third summer.

“We’re a growing team with full-time and part-time staff with a variety of backgrounds,” Barinholtz told Technical.ly Baltimore. “We are always looking for people who can fit in with our culture and grow the organization.”

During next month’s Baltimore Innovation Week, FutureMakers and the U.K.-based Primo.io will host a one-day workshop, Programming & Play in Pre-K. The class aims to teach children ages 4-7 programming and development skills — without the use of a computer.

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Children will use the Primo platform to learn the basic principles of programming using wooden elements. Afternoon sessions are open to the public but registration is required for earlier sessions and space is limited.

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