A Tech Fest 5 Years In The Making

Photo courtesy Makerfest

  TOMS RIVER – Technology is the merging of a lot of disciplines. More than math and engineering, it often takes creativity, communication skills, teamwork and leadership to use tech to solve a problem.

  That’s why it’s important to engage children early so they get comfortable with it at a young age.

  The 2019 Jersey Shore Makerfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 12, 2019, at RWJBarnabas Health Arena and High School North, 1245 Old Freehold Road in Toms River.

  “I don’t know of any other opportunity for people of all ages to come together to engage in such diverse experiences, certainly not for free,” says founder Marc Natanagara, assistant superintendent of Toms River Regional Schools, the host of the one-day event. “We build it, they come, and we all benefit from sharing with each other.”

  Now in its fifth year, the fair brings the community in to see what local tech wizards and the biggest names in industry are working on. School officials estimate that there have been more than 300 makers and at least 12,000 participants over the history of the event. Using it as a touchstone for the community, the district establishes relationships with presenters to expand educational opportunities throughout the year.

  Furthermore, one goal is to inspire the students to try some of the activities at home or in the classroom. According to co-founder and Ed Tech Supervisor Tiffany Lucey, “It’s more about having a maker mindset than learning any one tool, and providing open ended challenges for students and even communities where the most important skill set is imagination.”

  “It’s more important than ever for students to be able to have practical, hands-on experience and to open their minds to all kinds of career opportunities,” Board President Joe Nardini said. “Makerfest is very inspirational in that way.”

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  It is a free event. It is sponsored by groups such as the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation.

What: 2019 Jersey Shore Makerfest

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 12

Where: RWJBarnabas Health Arena and High School North, 1245 Old Freehold Road in Toms River

Cost: Free, but online pre-registration is requested at jerseyshoremakerfest.org.