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The UnCollege Blog

The Joy of Making Things

Adam Lupu is a Learning Architect who is designing and building new structures in education and technology. He is the Chief Learning Officer at Mobile Makers Academy, helping talented thinkers become powerful makers. Follow him @HowWeLearn.

When you think about the last four years of your life, what comes to mind? A trip you took? A birthday or holiday you spent with loved ones? Maybe you recall something you accomplished that filled you with pride. Maybe the last four years are simply a blur of images and feelings.

For a maker, reflecting on the past brings to mind all of the inventions, creations, and tangible artifacts he or she has produced. You can always tell when you meet makers because they are so excited to show you the things they've built, the work they've done, and their ongoing creations. This is the joy of making things, expressed in its purest form, as the embodiment of a person's talent, potential, and passion.

When I meet a maker, I ask them to show me what they've made. Then I sit back and watch as they come alive, describing how they put their thoughts and energy into their creation and what they learned in the process. Sometimes it's a piece of art or furniture; other times it’s a game or device; more often than not, it’s a useful application for a mobile or web device. No matter what it is, makers are always eager to share.

Unfortunately, in my experiences with recent college graduates, I usually can't ask them what they've made. The last four years of their lives have most often been spent consuming rather than creating. Guzzling facts, voraciously burning through friendships and professional connections, hungry for experiences, parties and grades, they have spent so much time trying to imbibe other people's knowledge rather than trying to imbue artifacts with their own unique purpose.

The joy of making things is the joy of self-expression, the joy of problem solving, the joy of challenge, and most importantly, the joy of manifesting your visions and offering them to others. That's why we made The Mobile Makers Academy. We wanted to create an alternative to the instruction and assessment focus most existing educational institutions employ. We wanted to build a program that focuses on learning and making. We also wanted to root this program in one of the fastest growing industries in the world, so that our participants can easily go on to launch careers as professional, well-paid makers.

The result of our efforts is a two month, fully-immersive experience where everyone makes real apps for iPhones and iPads and spends time surrounded by fellow makers, learning from each other and sharing in each other’s passions. So far we've helped turn high school grads, job seekers, and career explorers into powerful mobile makers. Now we're looking for our next group of makers in the making. We’re looking for people who want to learn how to program, how to develop applications with their peers, and how to get a job in the mobile industry. If you’re curious, or if you think you might know someone who is, please look into our program. Visit our site to learn more.

Even if you’re not an aspiring iOS developer, think about the future. What do you want to make? What visions do you want to realize and offer to the world? Do you want to be a consumer, or do you want to be a creator?