Meet the Maker : Jeanette Breton

Colorado Maker Hub: Chief Technology Officer, Education Outreach

Techno Chaos: Co-Founder and Makerspace / Technology Advisor

How did you become a member of the maker community?

I’ve always loved technology, especially since it has grown leaps and bounds in my lifetime in simulations on Cray computers for engineering to Raspberry Pi for Minecraft to VR/AR.   Technology has made it a requirement to be a maker and life-long learner.  Tinkering, problem solving and having a curious mind are key skills as a maker in technology.  These skills were not being fostered within our educational community of our two elementary age boys and within the high school level district robotics teams to whom we were mentoring.

My husband and I decided to personally vest in and open our own makerspace, Techno Chaos, in our community in 2011 to inspire others to make.  Soon after getting our space going we mobilized others and hosted a Houston Mini Maker Faire in 2013 to inspire even more to connect, showcase and teach others.  In May 2016 after many requests for help we focused our efforts in mentoring schools, libraries and community groups in their makerspace implementations.  As a member of the maker community we need to mentor and provide opportunities for the educational community to connect with the maker community in order to inspire and provide learning opportunities to our youth.

What is your earliest maker memory?

Making is such a diverse area that I have different memories based on when I first started a different skill area.  A majority of my making is with technology these days, but my earliest memories of making is an awesome sketch of Ulysses S. Grant and an oil painting landscape in my early school days.  Since closing our makerspace and after our move to Colorado this summer, I’m hoping to retap this raw creative side of my making.

What do you think is the value of the maker movement?

For me the maker movement is a return to leveraging local resources, individual self-awareness and building our communities.  The key is in building the network to help each other achieve our individual needs and impact community goals.

What is your motivation to being a member of the maker community?

Our youth and their future.  Making is a key enabler to retaining skills, creativity, problem-solving, life-long learning and curiosity.  Standardized testing has reduced these capabilities in our youth.  I have seen evidence of this as we mentored high school students to elementary-age teams in robotics, taught technology within our own makerspace and seen our own boys change through different mental stages in elementary school as testing was introduced.  Alongside our own making and inventing, my husband and I want to help those that want to make a change by introducing more project-based learning, making and technology within their educational community.

What is your favorite experiment gone wrong?

I like Minecraft and LEGOs, so a project experiment of mine was to create a Minecraft Ocelot from LEGOs that could move and be remote controlled.  I had to do much tweaking to get him to be able to move and turn, but being in character as a maker to always improve and stretch those limits…another feature I wanted was that his skin was interchangeable just like in Minecraft with entities and players.  Well,  I was able to achieve this and we brought him to many events, but the one feature that I hadn’t planned on with his skin is that it would fall off, especially his butt.  Nothing like having to explain a naked ocelot to young kiddos and their parents!

An interesting fact we should all know?

I wasn’t introduced to LEGOs until my boys started playing with them and…then I was hooked. Both in what I could build and more surprisingly in the organization of the parts that it requires.  It definitely helps me keep my nickname of Chaos Buster.  The greatest benefit to my making after closing our makerspace was that I now have over 500,000+ LEGOs to have fun with!


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