Meet the People Fixing Education

Mark Twain once said ‘I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.’ But increasingly, the focus and funding towards 'traditional' academic pursuits mean children are studying more and thinking less — doing more homework, but being less creative. One of the downsides of is a decline in students pursuing design and creative endeavours in school. In 2017 in the UK there were nearly 20,000 fewer students in design and technology subjects. 

That’s a massive shortage in future fixers, inventors and makers. Just as importantly, it’s 20,000 students who won’t have the opportunity to learn the technical skills and creative problem solving that design and technology courses teach. The skills these courses teach help us see a broken item as an opportunity to fix or repurpose. 

Luckily, one of the great things about fixers is they see things as a problem to be solved, rather than a dead end. One solution that is popping up around the world is organisations like Tinkering School and FixCamp.

FixCamp — Holistic and entirely hands-on 

FixCamp is a new initiative from the think-and-do tank FixEd. FixCamp provides a hands-on space where creativity and engineering come together, allowing children to learn both sets of skills. 

Workshops will be focused on ideas, tools, skills and making. Young people will brainstorm ideas and explore a range of physical and digital devices. They'll be given hands-on experience with tools such as 3D-printers, hacksaws and software. Students develop skills such as problem-solving and team-working, and finally work together to create large-scale installations.

Teaching children the skills to solve problems 

Students at FixCamp will be asked to create, design and then build solutions to a whole range of social issues including housing and climate change. 

It’s not just the technical skills they’re learning, but also life skills like imagination, confidence and how to work as a team. 

Joining the larger fixing community. 

FixCamp is just one part of a much larger and growing movement which has sprung up to help people repair and create. For example organisations like MarkerClub, the Institute of Making and FixCamp aim to provide more young people with these skills. Others, like The Restart Project and Repair Cafe are growing to help meet the demand for people with the experience and confidence to repair.  

Read around, follow these organisations on social media, and then when you’re ready, get involved!