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Agency Works to Assess Effectiveness of Maker Movement

Agency Works to Assess Effectiveness of Maker Movement

The maker movement has solidified itself as more than just a trend as it becomes a huge component of STEM learning in schools across the nation.

Like all other trends in education- the question is constantly raised as to whether or not tinkering and the maker movement is an effective way to boost student achievement and/or encourage interest in STEM subjects.

The Agency by Design is working to answer that question, spending years analyzing the "promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning.”

Last year, it released a white paper called “Maker-centered Learning and the Development of the Self: Preliminary Findings of the Agency by Design Project,” where it discussed its analysis thus far.

At the end of the paper, the agency concluded this:

Students learn a tremendous amount through maker-centered learning experiences, whether these experiences take place inside or outside of makerspaces and tinkering studios. There is no doubt that students learn new skills and technologies as they build, tinker, re/design, and hack, especially when they do these things together.

However, the most important benefits of maker education are neither STEM skills nor technical preparation for the next industrial revolution. Though these benefits may accrue along the way, the most salient benefits of maker-centered learning for young people have to do with developing a sense of self and a sense of community that empower them to engage with and shape the designed dimension of their world.

For this reason, the agency urged policy makers to capitalize on the momentum of the movement.

The Agency makes several policy recommendations about the maker movement which are as follows:

  • Work on framework and assessment practices that document maker-centered learning and teaching to support meaningful learning later on.
  • Make the movement more accessible to a more diverse community of students of all race, genders, and socio-economic statuses.
  • Support professional development opportunities concerning maker-centered learning for teachers.
  • Support further research on the effect of the maker movement on young people.

Though this paper was released over a year ago, The Seventy-Four says the Agency by Design is still working to better assess how the maker movement is working.

Agency by Design is currently working to develop tools so educators can determine whether their maker-centered learning programs are working. If educators are unable to document how well their approaches work in the classroom, 'then often any initiatives wither,’” said The Seventy-Four.

Read the full paper.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/4/2016

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