Teachers, school leaders, parents, and, most importantly, students have been rallying around hands-on, creative, and design-centered learning that we have come to call “maker learning.”
Maker learning is important to diverse stakeholders in education, as it can help to: increase access, interest, and skills in STEM, particularly for diverse communities; promote social and emotional learning by building empathy and perspective taking abilities through design thinking practice; lead to a more personalized and engaging school experience by facilitating student voice and choice; and catalyze interdisciplinary project-based experiences that makes curriculum more relevant to the learner.
Unfortunately, too many students still do not have access to high-quality maker learning experiences. Some schools are hesitant to integrate maker learning into their curriculum because they believe they need expensive or complicated tools to get started, but this is far from true. Making does not require high-tech tools, so schools everywhere can start integrating maker learning right now with cardboard, duct tape, and scissors.
Much more important than the tools and materials involved in maker learning, though, is the philosophy behind maker learning experiences, which share three important values: Agency, Authenticity, and Audience. While the specific terminology may change, I have seen them identified over and over again by students, teachers, parents, administrators, advocates, researchers, and policy makers as the most important elements in ensuring quality maker learning experiences.
Digital Promise is focused and committed on closing the Digital Learning Gap, and an important part of that is making high-quality maker education available to all students. Here are a few examples of the work we are doing in this area:
You can do your part to promote maker learning by not only incorporating the values of agency, authenticity, and audience into your teaching, but also by sharing with us the great stories of learning that come from it.
Digital Promise is excited to discover and help schools share the amazing and diverse ways they are building maker learning into the experiences they offer their students. In the coming months, we will unveil more resources and opportunities to help schools incorporate and expand high quality maker learning programs for their students. Join the Maker Promise mailing list to find out about these opportunities as soon as they are announced.