What does maker education look like in today's schools — and how can you bring it into yours? To answer these questions, USC Rossier teamed up with edtech expert and teacher advocate Leah Levy to create "The Guide to Maker Education" — every teacher's handbook for bringing the maker movement into their classroom.
The maker movement is not new. Learning by doing, or making, is a time-worn skill. Think about the "guess and check" method of your middle school math classes — you try, fail, re-evaluate your work and try again, repeating the process until you come to an answer that makes sense. This iterative process is the core of the maker movement, which Vicki Davis, edtech teacher and author, describes as "a unique combination of artistry, circuitry and old-fashioned craftsmanship."
These values of artistry, circuitry and craftsmanship are becoming a permanent part of 21st-century learning skills in today's classrooms. Known as "Maker Education" (or more commonly referred to as "maker ed"), teachers and leaders in education technology and innovation are integrating these processes into their classrooms. In makerspaces, as the classrooms are called, students are encouraged to combine ideas of science, technology, math, engineering and hands-on tinkering to build alternative solutions to existing problems.
Makerspaces are "naturally iterative and experimental," said Patrick Benfield , STEAM and makerspace director at St. Gabriel's Catholic School in Austin, Texas. They allow students to not only "find their voice," he added, but also encourage them to "engage with ideas that promote empathy, agency and curiosity."
For this project, we interviewed maker teachers, classroom designers and makerspace librarians. Glance through our makerspace glossary to familiarize yourself with the terms used through this series. Whether you're a prospective, new or veteran maker, the nine articles below are designed to provide you with support, insight and actionable strategies to bring this movement into your school and classroom.
For this series, we interviewed seven sources on the current state of maker education. Refer back to these bios while reading through the series for more information on our maker educators and experts.
Youth services librarian at the Tompkins Country Public Library in Ithaca, New York