PIEDMONT -- Techies from all over town will unleash their inner wizards at Piedmont High School on Saturday for the first Piedmont Mini Maker Faire. More than 50 "Makers" from Piedmont schools have entered projects in the fair, as well as a half-dozen entrants from the community.

Entries include displays of robotics, drones, 3D printing, hovercraft and Lego inventions.

"Too often these days, students and parents are caught up in just consuming technology, whether it be games or the latest social media app," said parent Vince Monical, a former Google employee who spearheaded Piedmont Makers with David Ragones.

"We think the Piedmont Maker Faire can be a shining example for how technology and design learning can flourish.

Students and the whole community take a break from their iPhones and are inspired by each other to build amazing projects and valuable skills."

Piedmont Makers works with the Piedmont Unified School District and parent organizations, which are all firmly on board with making technology more available and fun for students. Monical said there is a lot of momentum in Piedmont to improve computer science and technology education.

"The school district is absolutely supportive of the Makers," said Randall Booker, the district's assistant superintendent of education services.

"It will be a wonderful event, and I hope lots of people will come. I brought my two children to the Makers' open house in March, and they had a great time. It's a fabulous idea."


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Piedmont High School Makers submitted nine entries into the fair, including "Technovation."

"High school girls put together a mobile app through a worldwide contest sponsored by Google that included a business plan and video," Monical said.

"It's very cool -- it's inspiring to see what these high school girls are doing and how they inspire younger students."

PHS students Ilona Bodnar and Tiffany Zhou are part of the girls' team that worked on Technovation.

"Technovation was an exciting real-world experience to develop a mobile application, which I foresee as part of my future," Zhou said. "I experienced the adrenaline rush of seeing lines of code transforming into an app. It was an amazing feeling."

The Maker program, sponsored by Maker Media, which produces Make magazine, launched its Maker Faire in 2006 in San Francisco.

It has spurred a worldwide Maker movement that promotes hands-on learning in education. The Piedmont Maker Faire is a trailblazer, as it is the first to be held in conjunction with a school district.

IF YOU GO
What: Piedmont Mini Maker Faire
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Piedmont High School, 800 Magnolia Drive, Piedmont
Cost: Free
Information: http://www.piedmontmakers.org