In her closing keynote at FabLearn a couple years ago, Leah Buechley turned a critical eye on the maker movement. If you don’t know Buechley’s work, she is arguably one of the maker movement’s central players, founding the former High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab and inventing the LilyPad Arduino, among many other contributions. She is a champion of making, which makes her all the more thoughtful in her critiques. Buechley asks us to consider who gets to make and who is represented in the maker movement. I thought about her keynote a lot
The Remake Learning network started as an experiment in collaboration among educators, researchers, mentors and caring adults and has become a movement touching thousands of lives in southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio. As it marks its 10-year anniversary, the network just released “Learning Together,” documenting Remake Learning’s achievements. Among its more notable accomplishments: • Connecting more than 500 organizations into a collaborative network. • Training more than 5,300 educators in new and innovative teaching methods. • Establishing more than 170 makerspaces for hands-on learning. • Engaging more than 53,000 people in the annual Remake Learning Days celebration.
The title of the article from The Atlantic stopped me in my tracks as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed: “Why I am Not a Maker.” I was perplexed. Why would someone not want to engage in the fun, creativity, and imagination of the maker movement? Within the connected learning and DML communities (at least my involvement in them), making has always had a positive connotation, bringing with it the possibility of turning teaching and learning toward a focus on producing new things/ideas instead of simply consuming the status quo. But, perhaps I was ignorant
Messing with Makey-Makey, tinkering with Arduino, building robots or creating wearable art are not primarily about teaching electronic skills, problem-solving, or technological literacy – although those can be benefits of the maker revolution in education. Messing, tinkering, building projects that actually interest learners is about developing skills of autonomous learning, cultivating an appreciation for and fluency in using learning communities and experienced guides, and practice at thinking big. “Making is a stance toward learning that puts the learner at the center of the educational process,” is how Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager put it in
I have a question for you. What do you think is going on in the photos I’m including in this post? They were taken last month at World Maker Faire NYC. And it fascinates me (Full disclosure: I worked the booth in the photo so I know the answer). Okay, I’ll tell you what I see and how it captures the “separated at birth” story between the Maker Movement (“Makers”) and the Digital Media and Learning (“DML”) communities. But first, about the photos. Let’s see if I can do this in one sentence: the pictures show
When I was ten years old, one television program was magical to me: Meet Mr. Wizard. Mr. Wizard was a friendly, knowledgeable old guy (he was probably in his 40s) who explained scientific phenomena to his young friends through various experiments and contraptions. At that time, the notion of science – of using knowledge to make things happen (blow up, emit smoke, become visible, change colors) – was as magical to me as Harry Potter’s magic wand was to a later generation. Chemistry sets for kids were still legal. I could buy potassium permanganate and glycerin
With Iron Man 3 raking in millions and marking the official start of summer blockbusters, it is thrilling to recognize that moviegoers are largely staring at a screen enraptured with Hollywood’s most successful maker. As such, I have good news and bad news for the maker movement. First the good news: to state the obvious, the movie’s hero, Tony Stark, has an uncannily familiar special power – he’s a tinkerer. Without diving into the plot too deeply, it is fair to say that the reason Tony Stark can save the world is because he’s a really