As a Career Educator and District Principal, Brian Campbell is invested in giving students hands-on experiences. It is important that these learning experiences allow students to gain skills and confidence as well as open their eyes to potential career paths. 

When Brian learned about Neil Squire Society’s Makers Making Change Chapter Leader program, he saw the opportunity to introduce students to career skills while impacting their community in a positive way.

alaska high way news photo career education fort saint john makers making change

Photo above from Alaska Highway News event article

What is Makers Making Change?

Makers Making Change pairs makers to people with disabilities who need access to low cost assistive devices. Their website hosts a Assistive Devices Library of open source devices that includes material lists, design files, and instructions for building DIY assistive technologies. Some projects in the library include switches for electronic devices like accessible gaming, AAC devices and toys. The library also has files to create simple eating and grooming aids for daily life. One of the highest tech projects is the LipSync; a mouth controlled sip and puff mouse. On www.makersmakingchange.com,  makers can volunteer their times and skills, and requesters can request devices for only the cost of materials. In order to read more about how our site works on our Roles and Responsibilities page.

“We are developing a community of Makers by working towards building a Maker Space in each of our schools.  As students reach high school they can use their skills to effect change in the world!”

Up in Fort Saint John, SD60 teachers and administrators have an innovative approach to career education. Partnership with the local industries allow support and funding for many of the district programs, allowing students access to a wide variety of facilities, experiences and career options. As part of this innovative approach, Brian and the SD60 staff are excited and engaged in the growth mindset and maker culture. In fact, for one of their professional development workshops, SD60 teachers were flown down to San Francisco to attend the San Mateo Maker Faire!

teachers from fort saint john makers making change maker faire

Growing the Fort Saint John Chapter

An amazing team came together to create a successful first event on Jan 15 2020. The event held at Duncan Cran Elementary included teachers Brant Churchill and Jennifer Andrews as well as administrative staff Keith MacGillivray, Griff Peet and Charmaine Chretien. 

At the full day event, 14 grade 12 students learned to build 3 different assistive devices; a light touch switch, a raindrop switch and a pen ball.  These projects and more DIY open source assistive technologies can be found in the Makers Making Change Assistive Devices Library

Light touch switchRaindrop switch with fingerUser hold a pen ball-a grip used to help people to write

group shot career education class builds assistive technologies

In the morning session, students learned the skills required to build the devices. Then, in the afternoon, the students were tasked with teaching their teachers how to build the same devices! Later, students tested their switches by mapping their switches to the new XBOX Adaptive Gaming Controller.

As a result of these first events, MMC Fort Saint John has delivered 5 demo kits with various devices to disability professionals organizations in the Fort Saint John area. Several teachers brought devices to their classrooms to use with their students at Alwin Holland and Wonowon Elementary

If you know anyone who needs a light touch switch, raindrop switch or a pen ball(or any other devices from the Project Library), please sign up for www.makersmakingchange.com to request a device.

Why Do you Volunteer as a Chapter Leader?

Q: What drives you to volunteer?

A: In my family,  it was expected that you use your time and resources to help others.

Q: What makes you continue volunteering with Makers Making Change?

A: The thing I really love about Maker Making Change is it allows people to use and develop skills to help others.

Q: Do you have a favorite moment or experience while volunteering with us?

A:  My favorite moment was during a light switch buildathon, a Grade 12 student from North Peace Secondary School was teaching a retired principal how to solder.  It was amazing to see the inter-generational cooperation and learning.  They were excited to work together on a common goal.  It was truly inspiring!

 

What’s next for MMC Fort Saint John?

Brian, Keith and Makers Making Change are creating a career education curriculum with the help of Kim Boettcher. 

The curriculum integrates communication, design thinking and technical skills required for designing and building assistive devices for people in their community.

**Update:** The curriculum is now complete and can be found here

Keith Gillivray and Brian Campbell district principal of career education