The maker movement is going mainstream, migrating from museums, garages, and informal “faires” into the highly regulated world of K-12 education. For fans of hands-on, student-driven learning, the shift presents an opportunity to breathe fresh life into old teaching philosophies.
The first time that Stanford assistant professor Paulo Blikstein studied the impact of maker activities on students’ learning—way back in the early 2000’s—the Maker movement wasn’t known as such yet. There were researchers out there interested who were in the concept, especially at MIT, but there wasn’t a common language to discuss its pedagogical principles and the cost of technology was still a barrier to experimentation in classrooms.
Why It’s Critical for the Next Gen to Be Tech Creators, Not Consumers
Hope Wellington – WIRED
According to Ayah Bdeir, technology is the language of our time. The 33-year-old founder and CEO of littleBits likes to compare the engineers of today to the clergy of the Middle Ages, who controlled access to knowledge and power via their monopoly over the use and understanding of the written word. Today’s engineers have a special kind of social and technological influence, which derives from their understanding of the stuff that makes our everyday gadgets work. If our lives today depend on technology, then those who truly understand it have an outsized influence over the rest of us. In Bdeir’s view, littleBits—a range of Lego-like electronic circuits that can be used by virtually anyone to innovate their own gadgets—isn’t just a plaything, it’s an aid to achieving widespread tech literacy. You might even think of littleBits as a democratizing project.
Makerspace Stories and Social Media: Leveraging the Learning
Ross Cooper & Laura Fleming- Edutopia
By assigning students a one-minute, social-media-friendly video reflecting on their makerspace experience, you encourage them to bring their learning into the world where they live.
Flashy spaces and shiny toys in makerspaces are enticing, but it takes time and explicit scaffolding to develop a true Innovator. Building and providing the space for Making to happen is one thing; nurturing a mindset that gives students the mental tools to engage with said spaces is a much larger, and timely, endeavor.
Teachers around the country are excited about Makerspaces, and for good reason. By turning a classroom or library into a Makerspace, students can join a global movement of makers while learning STEM in a hands-on way. For a teacher, that usually means creating a designated space for kids to meet, create, invent, and learn outside of the traditional classroom structure.
To help you get started with your Makerspace, we’ve put together a few lists of supplies you can request through DonorsChoose.org. These recipes are a great place to begin, and we’ve included resources below for educators who want to take their making to the next level.