The Maker Movement: Lessons for Educators
As we have moved from an industrial to an information economy, there has been interest in fostering different kinds of skills in American schools. These “twenty-first century” competencies include creativity, innovation, troubleshooting and collaboration, which contrast with the “factory skills” model that remains prevalent in our school system. This older conception of learning stems from school’s history as an institution and no longer aligns with our present societal values. Out-of-school learning environments offer effective alternative models to traditional curriculum and assessment. The Maker Movement is one such example which successfully offers socially and technologically active and interested youth opportunity to learn through authentic, meaningful tasks. As an ethos, it serves as a “doorway in” to developing new interests. Maker Spaces can serve teens as “third spaces” between home and school where students can develop a unique sense of place with their peers and develop interests. Early evidence suggests that teens who are engaged in interest-driven making activities demonstrate greater constructive, critical and social dispositions and are more likely to be successful in college and active in their communities. A closer analysis of components of Making that facilitate learning might serve educators seeking to improve opportunities to learn in school.
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