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Making Things Again

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Photo by Jo Szczepanska

Liz Waid and Colin Lowther look at the maker movement. In this movement, people invent and fix things instead of throwing them away.

Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Voice 1  

Have you ever had a problem? You are a person, so of course you have! Maybe your motorbike would not start. Maybe you needed to fix a toilet. Maybe you did not know how to download something to your smartphone. All people have problems. But what was the first thing you did to solve your problem?

Voice 2  

If you can connect to the Internet, one of the first things you probably did was search there for an answer. There, you can find information and videos to help you with almost any problem. These how-to videos are very popular. That is because more and more people are interested in doing things themselves. More people are becoming interested in growing, making, and fixing things. This growing interest is known as the maker movement. Today’s Spotlight is on the maker movement.

Voice 1

 The maker movement includes a lot of different people and ideas. It includes people working independently to invent, create or design. Makers are people who design and create their own clothes or grow their own food. Many makers look at things in the world and say, “I could make that.” Or they may say, “I think I could make that better.” Or they dream of something they wish existed. And when they do not find it, they try to create it.

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Voice 2  

People have always made things. Ancient people made baskets, bowls, and tools. One generation of people taught the next. Parents taught children. This was how people shared knowledge, experience, and wisdom with each other.

Voice 1  

But things started to change. Machines made it easier to grow food. So, fewer people needed to work on farms. So they moved to cities. They found work in factories. But then factories started to use machines. It started to cost less money to buy a new thing than to fix an old one. People began to forget how to grow food, create things, or fix things when they broke.

tool bench
Photo by Maxim Selyuk
Voice 2  

And many people are tired of this. They do not want to throw things away. They want to be able to fix things that break. They want to grow their own food. They do not want to depend on factories or stores. They want to use knowledge and skills instead of spending money. In this way, the maker movement is a kind of return to the way things used to be.

Voice 1  

The maker movement includes traditional work like weaving cloth, making things out of wood, and growing your own food. But it also accepts and uses new technologies. Computers are now much less frightening to people than they used to be. More people understand how they work. Children learn to write code for computers in school. The Internet provides training and a way to connect to other makers.

Voice 2  

People in the maker movement come together to make things. Maker Faires are gatherings of these people. They spend a few days together talking, planning, inventing, and solving problems. These Faires began in the United States, but have spread to every continent. For example, in 2016 there was a Maker Faire in Shenzhen, China. At the Faire people taught wooden knife making, drawing, and how to build a robot out of LEGO building bricks. There was even a clothes fashion show. Much of the clothing was wearable technology. It had built-in computers, lights, or body sensors.

Voice 1  

Another kind of gathering of makers is called a Repair Café. People bring their broken things to the Repair Café. The Café has tools and supplies to fix things. There are also experts who offer to teach people how to fix what they have brought in. But whenever possible, the people must do the work themselves. Repair Cafés began in Amsterdam, but have also spread around the world. There are Repair Cafés in Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Azerbaijan, China and many other countries.

Voice 2  

And the maker movement is still growing. It is even starting to change education. Some schools are creating “maker spaces.” In these places, children can invent, combine, and discover. Jim Tiffin is a teacher in New York, in the US. His students do not just sit and listen to him talk. In the maker-space, they do things. He told the Scholastic website,

Voice 3  

“It has had the most empowering effect on students of any of the courses that I have taught. Students are taking the experiences from this class and using them in their other classes.”

man sewing belt
Photo by Devin Edwards
Voice 1  

Experts say that any school can be a maker space like this. They do not need high cost equipment or supplies. They can use paper, broken toys, string, clay or tape. Any materials will work. Students just have to make things!

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Voice 2  

But schools are not the only places interested in the maker movement. Some big businesses also try to use the maker movement to sell more products. The clothing company Levis sells millions of pairs of blue jeans around the world. Many people do not consider them to be part of the maker movement. But Levis tries to find people who are making creative things. Then they put these things on their website. Big businesses like this tell the stories of these makers. People like the stories and buy more clothing. This way they try to seem like they are part of the maker movement even if they are making clothes in big factories.

Voice 1  

Many people do not want to just use things and throw them in the garbage. They want to use their hands. They want to learn. They want to be independent and in control. Tim Bajarin wrote about the maker movement for Time Magazine. He wrote:

Voice 4  

“The more I look into it, the more I believe that the maker movement is very important to America’s future. It may be able to turn more and more people into makers instead of just people who use things. I know from history that when you give makers the right tools and good ideas, they can change the world.”

Voice 2  

Do you like to learn new things? Do you like to create and repair? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Making Things Again’.

Voice 2  

Look out for our listening app in the Google Play store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What do you do when something breaks? Do you try to fix it or replace it? Write your answer in the comments below.

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131 comments
  • yes of course
    i live small city in korea.
    l started to learn to make cloth
    that i was fourty.
    now i am 56years.
    i want to share my makeing clothe way.

  • I try to fix anything when it breaks. It help me to save some money. If it can’t fix i will buy a new one, maybe it is more comfortable and more esier to use.
    Thanks Team Spotlight for helping me to improve English.

  • I don’t interested in making and fixing things . Because I’m not patient person to wait until the end . Also, I don’t have the talent of repairing things. I prefer to throw the ruin thins and buy a new . It easier

  • I don’t have money . I try to fix my
    Problems my self , I already fixed my laptop with out taking any suggestions

  • There are several things , I can fix them
    by myself.
    For example, a broke remote control or
    Anything is simple and not complicated.
    But alos, there are many things ,I can’t fix them because they are complicated or
    complex electronic devices, so it will take time and energy if I repair them so it’s easier to me to buy new one or let expert fixes them or throw them away

  • i am s maker about bag and hat
    i want to share my method everyone in the word.
    i am working cloths factory.
    there are a lot of wasted fabric
    so i use the wasted fabric to make new things

  • First of all I will try to fix it or repair it if not I will searching in website to figure out the solutions or asking some one if not I will replace it in the end. This is my way to deal with things.

  • I couldn’t listen to Radio Spotlight like before because of the new look( new feature / New App). Listening will not continue if my phone screen is turned off or locked. It is very inconvenient because I do not always hold the phone in my hand. Please correct the new feature or revert to the old version Sportling used. It is very useful and much more effective. Thank You,u

    • Thank you for this feedback! With this new change, we are listening to you and we will update and make changes as we can. We are so sorry you’re having trouble with this issue!

  • In the first place I will try to fix it if it’s important me , but many of things I don’t interesting fix them because replace it is easier

    • I am interested fixing things and repair things, I live in Hong Kong, it is easy To get new things , but I don’t want to wasting. I have tried make new style with my old clothes. I drawing with toilet paper roll.

  • hmm it depends on what was broken if an electronic part or a mechanic part or something concerned to electricity.. I don’t have enough experienceto fix it but if something is easy and can done by some google search or youtube it works 😉

  • I’m going to search who to fix it
    yes a lot of things i fixed I’m learned who to fix it like my laptop the cooling CPU have a problem the fan is broken and I’m
    going to search who to repair it but the mechanical thing is to hard to repair it in ur home because that need some tool’s
    but i’m going to replace it soon

  • When it broken something, if i have a lot of money i will buy new things but if i do not have i will fix it
    Thank you,

  • First thing i go to search in the internet and about how i can fix it . then if i dont find any thing i just set with my self and think how i can fix it and bring it back to normal , So that when the something broke i wiil try to fix it if i cant i will replace it .

  • I usually try to fix anythings. It helps me to save money and discover my own interesting things. But somtimes it isn’t easy.

  • l usually search about a something when it breaks in YouTube , Google to repair it
    l often try to fix it but if I can’t it I repair it

  • I try to fix it at first for saving money. I live in Hanoi city, Vietnam. I hope we have Repair Cafe ASAP

  • In usual, I fix it if I can, but sometimes I ask my father to help me.
    By the way I loved the name of producer ‘ michio ozaki ‘ 🙂 and I really loved this broadcast.
    Thank you.

  • Some time i try to fix the broken item especially When I love it but most of my time i throw it and replace it. i actually a big fan of recycling but i really Don’t do it much of my time.

  • I throw down in the wastebasket the damaged and old things. Buti would like to learn to repair something or install an electric lamp in the ceiling, for example.

  • I want to use their hands. I want to learn. I want to be independent and in control by fixing, reparing to re- use.

  • Of course I’m try to learn new things every day, and when I’m a child I used to make incredible things.
    And now in my family they say Raji is the searchest one of how to do —– because 🙂

  • Oftenly i use the internet to fix my problems, i can not live with out internet ,its nessecery in our life days.

  • Hi, there
    I hope to ask you how much money time I need to listen exactly every day I can be fluently as a native a speaker.

  • For me if it’s possible to fix it i will try to fix and use it again. The only problem that i have is whenever i had a stuff that I can’t fix I’m keeping it that’s why i have a lot stuff.

  • I like doing any things by myself
    When I see something that going to ruin , I’ve a desire to fix it

  • I usually enjoy fixing things and make it to be good as before, especially on my free time.
    It’s good for us to increase our skills and to learn something new!
    Thank’s spotlight for this episode, great as a usual .

  • When your most favorite coffee cup was broken, there are some craft men who fix it using melted gold as a binder and they can make it reborn as artistic new design in traditional Japanese craftsman’s skills. That idea is to use good things with good care and affection and if your special one was broken instead of throwing away repaire it and add higher loving impression on it. Of course, it needs much money to do it by skilled craftman but in reality you can let it reborn using adhesive economically like you love son or daughter get back health again.

  • It’s a wonderful thing to be a maker, but the answer of your question it depends for the answer of another question which is how much is the value of that thing ? is it worth to waste a time for fix or repair it, or is it that time so expensive to it?

  • Of course l try to fix it and l have a lot of tools and small equipment but be careful when you boing things in the final i waana say thank you spotlight

  • When something breaks, I usually give my father it to fix for me. I never tried to fix it because I thought it was very difficult and I did not have ability to do.

  • Creating things on my own are something so interesting. I love to make clothes, grow food for my family. It’s not only a lovely thing for others, but it also makes you feel pleased after stresses in life

  • 1- what was first thing you did to solve your problem ?
    first l search a bout me problem in internet or ask me parenthood.
    2- do you like a learn now things?
    yes of course.
    3- do you like to create and repair?
    yes , with mud .
    Finally, I would like to say that I am new to writing and at the learning stage, so I ask you to correct the spelling mistakes in my comment.

  • When something breaks, I often throw it away immediately. I will replace it and instead of fixing it. Especially, when I listen to this Spotlight, I think I may create a new thing by repairing it. I believe that I could become a maker movement in the future, it is a way to change my education. Besides, I will save money to contribute to the environment’.

  • When something breaks, I often throw it away immediately. I will replace it, instead of fixing it. Especially, when I listen to this Spotlight, I think I may create a new thing by repairing it. I believe that I could become a maker movement in the future, it is a way to change my education. Besides, I will save money to contribute to the environment.

  • In the most time i,m not trying to fix or replace things , but some times i try and i pass , the trying is start of creative

  • Each people has many things and when we use them for a long time, they will be broken. So, What will you do? To me, if I can fix them, I will try to fix them because I find that if I throw them away while they’re still usable, it’s a waste. And when I try to fix them, I realize that it’s very interesting. That helps me unleash my creativity and I can make another thing from them. When I try to fix them, maybe they don’t work again but I can know their structure and how they work. Sometimes, I can make a new thing out of them and I feel happy when I don’t waste something useful

  • If the thinkg that borke is hard to fix it i can’t handle it by myself so i think i’m going to replace it or taking it to a person who knows very well about that, if it’s eazy to fix it i’ll do it myself

  • I usually fix everything myself. When something breaks, the first thing that I do is try to repair it myself, if it’s impossible, then I lie on my bed and think about how I can fix it else. If it doesn’t have sense – I just go and buy a new thing.

  • When I was a kid, my mother taught me that I had to reuse things and save money. That’s the reason when something breaks I usually fix it. I will repair it untill it can’t repair anymore. Such as: I used to fix my clothes, my bag, my bike, my fan…. I can save a lot of money when I repair them. I just buy the new things when the new year comes.

  • When things break, I like to try to fix them myself. I find if I’m successful, I get some self satisfaction out of it.

  • when i have something breaks, ok. In the past, i would find someone who can help me fix it. and if i can’t find someone to help me, i will buy a new one. i don’t try to fix it. but now, i spend time to find solution, like search information in google. you know, when i do that, i can learn many things. which one is too difficult, i aways bring it go to store. anyway, it’s so interesting to fix somethings yourself :)))

  • I love fixing things and creating them in many ways that I learned on the internet. it helps me be more creative, spend less money on repairs when I don’t have to go to the repair shop

  • Hi every one – for me I trying to fix any thing brooking in my house but some stuff or machine needs to engineering or some one has specialization for fix . so that i have the easier tools but not complected tools.

  • I think it’s a good idea to repair things instead of throwing it out. It is fascinating way to save money and is also good for the environment to keep it clean

  • Making things on your own, without the assistance of a machine, will increase your creativity. I believe that schools should encourage and provide a maker space for their students to freely develop their minds and brains as a means of fostering independent thinking

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