Maker-Centered Learning and Why It Matters

Today, I further refined what I’m going after. It was fueled by a talk I went to that was a launch for a book on the maker culture in schools. What did I like so much about it? What felt true?

The word “agency” kept coming up. The speakers claimed that in a maker culture, students learn to see things as having been designed, and then develop a habit of thought that considers how a thing can be improved—then improving it.

We have these amazing architectural feats, the incredible magic of manipulating electricity to carry information, beautiful works of literature and art that have been created that we enjoy. But I look at my students and they aren’t learning to be active and make. They have been trained to passively receive.

I believe a fundamental piece of the human condition is creativity and the drive to create.  We are distancing ourselves from this part of us and becoming better at consuming than those that came before us.

I don’t want my students to be consumers—I want them to be creators. I want them to see the problems in the world and feel like they can design and make something better. I want their empowerment. I think a making culture can make this happen.

If they see the world as a project filled with designs that can be reiterated and improved, this may help them see themselves in a similar light—as projects that are in a process of iteration. Instead of feeling stuck or slaves to their upbringing and natural dispositions, they would see themselves as works-in-progress that can be improved. Maybe that’s a growth mindset.