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MAKER FAIRE. This year’s Maker Faire participants pack the XUJHS Covered Court full with exhibits of new creations by students. Supplied photo. 

By Samuel F Macagba III

Last November 24, Xavier Ateneo Junior High School held their 3rd School Maker Faire activity. The Maker Faire activity has been dubbed  globally as the “greatest show (and tell) on Earth – a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”

Being the first in Mindanao to participate in the first worldwide run last 2016, Xavier Ateneo Junior High School continues to establish its mark as the forerunner and leader of innovation and technology in education, also considered as the first to have been awarded as a Microsoft Showcase School in Mindanao.

Dr Dulce R Dawang, Xavier Ateneo's VP for basic education, shared in her opening remarks that the type of education has, at times, “put students in a box.” As such, she said that the educational system has somehow curtailed the creativity and innovation of learners.

Dawang saw this event as an opportunity to unleash the creativity of the students. In the process, students have become more reliant and knowledgeable to help themselves and others. 

Maker Faire 3MAKER FAIRE 2018. Xavier Ateneo's VP for basic education Dr Dulce Dawang and XUJHS principal Dr Pamela Pajente lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the start of XUJHS Maker Faire 2018. Supplied photo. 

The power of collaboration

This year’s Maker Faire was made possible through the support of partner organizations and makers from various fields. One of the invited organizations this year was the Ateneo Outdoor Recreation Society. Their president, Carlos Valencia, provided a knot-tying workshop to the participants, which he explained is crucial especially for climbers like him. Beyond climbing, their organization is committed to preserving the environment.

“Our organization does not only aim to climb a lot of mountains but also let our members appreciate the beauty of the environment since it is in appreciating that we learn to love and protect it,” Valencia said.

Other notable workshops given were the following: limestone dust mosaic by Danilo Samaniego of JSL Educational Resource; photoshop, digital art, and basic figure drawing workshops by Misfit, a CDO-based advertising and art company; a cooking demo on various dishes by the Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro; a calligraphy workshop by select XUJHS students and XU School of Education interns; basic Thai language workshop by Marianne Grace Danuco, an XUJHS teacher; and Minecraft Hour of Code by Lea Lilibeth Emata, XUJHS assistant principal for academics.

Various prototypes, exhibits, and inventions were presented by the students of XUJHS, applying their skills in their Science and Robotic subjects. Amazing inventions, such as the sensor-operated trash can and the bicycle-powered charger caught the attention of the participants. But the stories behind their inventions were equally interesting and inspiring as the makers shared how their ideas came alive.

Consistent participants to the Maker Faire were the Xavier Ateneo students from the College of Agriculture, showing their agricultural technologies and products hoping to ignite the passion of the youth to go into the agricultural sector.

Robogals, an international student-run organization that aims to inspire young women to consider studying engineering and STEM, saw the Maker Faire as a platform to share not just their tangible products but also their advocacies.

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A group of students shares a piece of culture through their dance presentation of the Tinikling. Supplied photo. 

However, the Maker Faire was not just an opportunity to exhibit prototypes and inventions, it was also a day where talents of the XUJHS student body were celebrated through dance showdowns, band presentations, and cultural numbers. It was an event that all types of makers converged with the aspiration to inspire and collaborate, to create and share, and to learn and innovate.

Learning for and with others

The Maker Faire activity acknowledges that making is something that is uniquely human and at the heart of the Maker Movement is the understanding that making is not just for one’s personal gain but a commitment toward helping others.

Staying true to the brand of a Jesuit institution of being "men and women for others," the event not just showcased inventions and creations, but it was an opportunity for collaborations, outreach, and service.   

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LOYOLA STATUE. XUJHS administrators and the teachers and students from the different Jesuit Bukidnon mission schools strike a pose with the statue of St Ignatius of Loyola after the event. Supplied photo.

The Tulong-Dunong partner public elementary school pupils and teachers joined the event. The pupils interacted with the XUJHS groups while the TD teachers were given free Microsoft training by the XUJHS Microsoft Education Ambassadors.

Tulong-Dunong is an established service learning program of Xavier Ateneo Junior High School and it created a stable platform on forming students and creating avenues where the public and private schools collaborate toward quality education.

Moreover, same experience was given to the teachers and students from the various Jesuit Bukidnon mission schools participated in this event through the strong support coming from the Parents Students Teachers Auxiliary Group of the Xavier Ateneo Junior High School. 

Believing that quality education should be brought to the peripheries, the organizers of the event made sure that this event was not just an opportunity to showcase the innovative creations of the participants but also an opportunity to reach out.

One of the stars of the event: 3D Printer

Joseph Philip Fernan Gaston, a student-volunteer of the XU American Corner, shared to the students and guests a demonstration of the 3D printer, a machine that creates  object prototypes.

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EXHIBIT. Curious students check the 3D printer and some products exhibited by the American Spaces Philippines. Supplied photo. 

He said that “more than a hobby, it is his passion to share the beauty of the 3D printer.” Gaston added that this “new technology gives an edge to makers and innovators in creating things really quickly.”

“I enjoyed the curious faces of the students and their openness to learning new things since these are essential in creating a community of innovators and makers,” he shared.

The American Corner sees their mission to create a more knowledgeable society about the available machines and resources that could facilitate the creation of brilliant ideas of the students.

Estrella Cabudoy, director of the Xavier Ateneo Libraries, said that it has been a joy to hold collaborative activities with the United States of American Embassy, especially with their desire in creating an atmosphere for inclusive education.

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Consistent with the aims of the Maker Faire, this event was truly a platform that allowed makers to come together to learn, share, and collaborate. As the world continues to change and evolve, this day proved that there is a great need to reform our educational programs to allow learners to venture into creating, making, inventing, and exploring. We must start by recognizing that everyone has the potential to achieve these goals and that we all share the responsibility to nurture creativity, innovation, and imagination.∎

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