Why Coding Matters.

November 2, 2013

by Andy Stoller

I don’t think there’s anyone left who honestly thinks that computers are still just a “fad;” Ken Olson, president of the now-defunct company Digital Equipment Corp said, in 1977, “There is no reason anyone in the right state of mind will want a computer in their home.”

What Ken lacked in foresight, he made up in chutzpah, but I think the millions upon millions of people who have computers in their homes, their cars, and in their pockets may take issue with being called insane. These days a statement like that would draw quite a few puzzled looks.

So now that we can all agree that computers are pretty much here to stay, and since we’re starting to think of putting them in eyeglasses and sub-dermal implants and who-knows-what-else, I start to wonder why so many people are ignorant when it comes to really taking control of computers.

I mean, everyone knows how to download and play computer games, or send emails and chat with their friends, but when’s the last time you really told it what to do? When have you wanted a computer to do something and reallymade it happen, instead of handing it off to an expert or using someone else’s solution?

The promise of learning computer programming is not the attractive lifestyle of sitting in a tiny cubicle clickety-clacking away in front of a computer screen, or a promise of fame and riches as the CEO of a billion-dollar tech startup.

The promise of computer programming is a promise of agency and control. With these skills, you can be assured that no matter where technology is headed, you’ll have a hand on the steering wheel. It promises that no matter who you buy your computerized tennis shoes from, you’ll be the one who gets to decide how they work.

It’s likely to be a life-long process of learning, as old technology is replaced and improved upon, and each iteration abandoned; but you’ll be able to keep up, knowing that you are not a passive subject, but an active participant in the tech revolutions of the future.

Check out our new programming class starting up this Wednesday, November 6th from 3:30-5pm for ages 9+.

Day: October 16th is our first Kick-off meeting
Place: MakersFactory space in downtown Santa Cruz, 877 Cedar Street, Suite #122
Time: 6:30-8pm
Cost: FREE! Includes light supper!
Sign-Up: Email krissie@makersfactory.com to reserve your spot today. Space is limited.

The Engaging Technology in Education meetup is a forum to bring local Santa Cruz County educators together to discuss technology in education, and not just how to use technology in education, but use it effectively, putting it to work in ways that enriches the learning process through unique and powerful experiences.

Started by the MakersFactory in downtown Santa Cruz, we’re looking to connect with administrators, teachers, home school parents, researchers and enrichment coordinators from private and public institutions, big and small. We hope that by bringing together a diverse group of educators we’ll be able to share technological challenges, needs and experiences; find better resources for classrooms; develop best practices and make our local educational offerings more powerful and compelling through the intelligent implementation of computers, hands-on activities, games, maker inventions and modern manufacturing practices (like 3D printing).

Topics will include: “The Gamification of Education”, “Flipping Classrooms”, “Publishing Student Work”, “Setting up a Fab Lab at Your School”, and “How to Integrate Multimedia Sources to Support the Common Core” and much more!

Why is MakersFactory hosting an educational meet up?

Since its formation two years ago, MakersFactory has been at the forefront of technological innovations, bringing 3D printing, laser cutting, animation, 3D scanning, 2D design, 3D modeling and rapid prototyping to Santa Cruz county. With such advanced machinery, however, came the need for educational offerings to teach the public how to operate the new equipment. We quickly discovered that one of the most receptive audiences happened to be students aged 8-12 so we changed our business model and began a quest to discover the best hands-on, interactive, fun and educational lessons to bring to our camps, classes and workshops.

Word spread about our robotics, electronics, programming, animation, modeling and game-making classes and soon various schools were contacting us about bringing enrichment programs to their sites. We began these partnerships to meet immediate educational demands but also wanted the opportunity to step back and discover together a comprehensive vision to unify our community and meet the rigorous demands of the 21st century. We think this gathering can help us accomplish that goal. Together we can learn from each other’s mistakes and successes and be more agile in meeting the educational needs of all our students. If you share our passion, join us for some cutting-edge brainstorming at the Engaging Technology in Education Meetup, every third Wednesday of the month.

First Friday 4 The Girls

September 27, 2013


It’s time for another evening together to celebrate that sweet spot where art and technology merge. For Santa Cruz’s next First Friday on October 4th, we’ll be featuring award-winning art educator Kathleen Crocetti, a local community mosaic muralist (her students’ work is displayed on numerous Santa Cruz bridges) and creator of the fashionTEEN event. The event will be captured on video by Cheri O’Neil of Chronicles in Motion.

In honor of the International Day of the Girl, a special evening has been developed to help girls learn about 3D printing, new innovations in technology and a chance to win a MakersFactory gift card. Plan on bringing your daughter, granddaughter or neighbor’s girl to this customized event organized with them in mind.

Refreshments provided by event partners Santa Cruz Dining for Women, a global giving circle dedicated to helping women and girls in the developing world achieve their potential, gain equality in their countries and cultures and overcome economic limitations and social bias. It promises to be a fabulous night, 5-8:30pm in our MakersFactory space at the Cruzio building, 877 Cedar St, #122, downtown Santa Cruz. See you there.

High-Tech + Hands-On = Saturday Workshops

September 27, 2013

Saturdays just got a whole lot more fun. And by fun, we mean interactive, collaborative, educational, hands-on activity-based fun using the latest technology. Activities like “Interactive Animation using Scratch and PicoBoard” (this Saturday’s class) or “Introduction to 3D Animation” using Blender (next Saturday). Workshops that will blow your mind they’re so riveting! Workshops that are […]

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The Magic of Minecraft

April 17, 2013

You know your kids love it, but what’s really behind their fascination with Minecraft? Joe explains a little about the magic he saw during his spring Minecraft camp: Minecraft Hey folks!  This is Joe Allington, and I’m a teacher, technician, and designer at MakersFactory.  A week ago, I led one of the first two sessions […]

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MFY: Featured Works

December 19, 2012

Among the busy events we have been putting on, we managed to snap some photos of some of our holiday themed projects. We put some filters on the images this time to make it easier to see the detailed outlines of each laser cut project.      

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MFY: Featured Works

December 6, 2012

It’s a busy week here at MakersFactory. We are getting ready for DIY First Friday tomorrow. Since we turned one year old in November we will be showcasing Bathsheba Grossman, who has been with us since the beginning. We are also happy to announce that we have some of Bathseba’s items for sale in our […]

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MFY : Featured Works

November 28, 2012

So how small can we print on the extrusion printer? Obviously, the subject would have to be zombies. Turns out we can print pretty dang small!    And have you checked out our new samples? We can now make objects in high detail acrylic, full color, aluminum, nylon and stainless steel!  

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MFY: Featured Works

November 21, 2012

This week Jurgen has been working on building a lamp. We printed the shade for him on our 650 powder printer. Look for future pictures of the finished piece!    

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MFY: Featured Works

November 13, 2012

Last week we completed the trophy for the 2012 Coldwater Classic. The 3D bust was first printed on our ZCorp 650 printer and sprayed an off gold color. Then it was completely covered in gold leaf, antiqued and varnished by hand. The photos below show the process:    

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