Shemya Key and Nele Dixkens use a drill press to perfect their miniature-golf project at Monticello High’s engineering room. Photo: Reza A. Marvashti/Education Week.
The “maker” movement — do-it-yourselfers tinkering and inventing– is moving from garages, “makerspaces” and “maker faires” to “the highly regulated world of K-12 education,” writes Reza A. Marvashti in Education Week. Can “maker ed” make it in mainstream schools?
“If schools don’t get the spirit of it, I don’t think it will benefit them a whole lot,” said Dale Dougherty, the founder of MAKE magazine.
The White House is hosting its second National Week of Making this week.
“Nonprofit advocacy groups such as Digital Promise and Dougherty’s Maker Education Initiative are encouraging districts to champion making inside their schools,” reports Marvashti.
Maker education” . . . refers to hands-on activities that support academic learning and promote experimentation, collaboration, and a can-do mindset. But in practice, educators use “making” to describe everything from formal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curricula to project-based classroom lessons to bins of crafting materials on a shelf in the library.
In 2011, Monticello High in Ablemarle County, Virginia turned its library into a space where students can tinker with “circuits, programmable microprocessors, and art supplies,” writes Marvashti.
Now, a woodshop-turned-engineering lab is full of teenagers on laptops working intently on projects such as developing a first-person shooter video game. Their introductory computer science course is built around a simple question: What do you want to create?
Upstairs, meanwhile, 16-year old Ray Thomas sits in front of a microphone and monitor, using his audio-production class to finish a new rap song.
However, “making” is for a minority of enthusiasts, not for everyone.
Across the county, Baker-Butler Elementary has given up on self-directed “making,” reports Marvashti. Kids didn’t know how to get started. Instead, students work on structured “maker challenges,” which sound a lot like the “hands-on projects” of yore.
Read the full article here: The ‘Maker’ Movement Is Coming to K-12: Can Schools Get It Right? (Education Week)
Making is known for white males working with electronics, vehicles and robots, said critic Leah Buechley, a former MIT professor, in 2013. She urged MAKE to feature a broader range of makers, including those working with ceramics, costumes and weaving.
With 3-D printing, now affordable, makers can create very cool things.