“One of the stable forces in my path to becoming a maker educator is the long-lasting bond with my cohort in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP). Our cohort had a strong focus on equity and social justice, to the point that we even held our own social-justice meetups in the evenings.
“This focus on equity and social justice, along with the long-lasting relationships we built through these meetups, have fueled my continued work to help all students find the pursuits that drive their learning.
“The first maker space I opened in East Palo Alto started as an idea that I pondered aloud with several of my former classmates. At that time, maker education was just developing and was often seen in high schools, with students engaging in 3D design, robotics, and circuitry, among other things. My former classmates’ support and ideas pushed me to try out this new approach to integrating creativity and student-centered learning. It’s an approach that continues to support students in the Ravenswood City School District who are engaging with STEAM curricula (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).
“As a cooperating teacher working in recent years with STEP teacher candidates, I’m excited to see the passion for equity and social justice continuing across the STEP cohorts.
“Without my experience in STEP, I might still be an educator right now, but I would not have the depth of knowledge or extensive support network that I do today.”
Robert Pronovost earned an MA in elementary education in 2007. He founded EmpowerMINT. He is on the adjunct faculty of the Foothill-De Anza College District and is the STEM Coordinator of Maker Education for the San Mateo County Office of Education.