MAKER MOVEMENT: BUILDING LEARNERS FOR THE FUTURE

makerspace-pic
Photo CC By-CSM Library

“In the makerspace environment, students are set free to be makers limited only by their imagination.”  This statement from Holly Fritz-Palao’s  blog perfectly describes a fast-growing learning approach known as the Maker Movement.  Essentially, this movement advocates for learning by doing.  We all know that when we get to move around, use our hands, and make something, a significantly higher amount of learning is bound to take place.  Rather than sitting in a classroom for long periods of time, listening to a rather boring lecture, and not retaining any of the information, the Maker Movement calls for endless amounts of play.  Right along with this play comes tinkering, experimentation, innovation, and creation that is completely student led.

The Maker Movement is important because it is engaging, motivating, and fully inclusive.  When this approach is used in the classroom, no student can be left behind because every student is in control of their own creations.  Allowing students to be innovators and use what they are learning in other classes to make and create not only prepares them for the future world of technology they will be living in, but opens the doors to both personalized and project-based learning as well.

The Maker Movement classroom or “makerspace” might look like an art studio or wood shop, it might be indoors or outdoors, or it might even be a table in the lunchroom that students flock to shortly after they have shoveled down their meals.  This is the case at The Computer School in New York City where teacher Tracy Rudziti has started and built and extremely successful makerspace.  Here, students are encouraged to design, create, and make projects of their own choosing.  Rudziti encourages their DIY endeavors and is constantly reminded by her students that, “Nothing is impossible,” and “Everything you touch is an adventure.”  (Read the full story here.)
While I have never witnessed a formal makerspace in action, I imagine it would be buzzing.  Brilliant young minds would be brainstorming, students would be working together and excited about the possibilities that they saw in front of them, and even more eager to share new things they have learned and discovered.  It sounds like every teacher’s dream.  All time is spent allowing students to imagine, create, innovate, and dream for the future.  Not only does this learning approach give students freedom and ownership over their learning, but it incorporates every area of the STEM curriculum and can be used to incorporate other cross-curricular areas too!

In order to organize your own makerspace, I think you have to be a little bit comfortable with organized chaos.  While all students get to work freely, build, and learn, there is guaranteed to be a significant amount of disarray at times.  As long as students know the base rules and have their individual spaces tidy and clean at the end of every day, there shouldn’t be too many issues.

Even though the Maker Movement may pose some challenges such as availability of resources, finding enough time in the school day schedule, deciding how to assess student learning, and regulating the makerspace, I believe that there are some significant advantages as well.  The Maker Movement provides so many opportunities for today’s students.  The future world they will be living in will be vastly different than the one that we have grown up in, so the way we teach and prepare them for it should be vastly different as well.  Jackie Gerstein says in her blog that the world we live in today has created the “perfect storm” for a Maker Movement in education.  Maybe it’s time we get on board with and go with it!

A few great Twitter accounts to follow for more information on the #MakerMovement are @MakerEdOrg  , @McLemoreAve and @briebdaley .  Check out the short video below to learn more!

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15 thoughts on “MAKER MOVEMENT: BUILDING LEARNERS FOR THE FUTURE

  1. Ashlyn,
    When researching which approach to further our research on I found maker movement to be very interesting although it was not the one I chose. After reading your blog it kind of upsets me that I did not choose to use this approach but I am excited with all the new information I have learned thanks to your sharing. I personally am a very visual and hands on learning so I see using this type of approach in my classroom to be very helpful for me and I wish more of my teachers would have used this in our classrooms. Especially at the younger level where I hope to teach at, hands on is very important for their growth and development so I think maker movement could be just the right thing for elementary education as well as older grades too when learning more difficult topics or exploring new things on their own!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Bailey

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    1. Bailey,
      I really enjoyed learning about the maker movement! Which one did you choose? I agree that the vast majority of people learn better when we are able to work with our hands and do things. This could be building something in high school or working with pattern blocks as a manipulative in elementary. I definitely hope to incorporate this into my teaching! Thanks for reading!
      Ashlyn

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  2. Ashyln, I’ve never heard of this learning method before, but it is really interesting! I can see students really enjoying being able to create something and having the freedom to choose what they create. I’m going to be a high school English teacher. How do you think maker movement would fit into a classroom like mine for older students?

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    1. One of the articles I was reading said that since the students were able to make just about anything of their own choosing, many of them decided to make something that related to what they were learning in other classes. A couple of the students were even able to 3D print replicas of some of the artifacts that were a part of the literature they were reading! I think if we allow our students to be creative in their own ways, the maker movement can supplement just about any curricular area.

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  3. I have never heard of this approach before, what a great idea! Active student play is lacking in today’s society. People forget that students need to get out and play in order to learn the best. So why not combine play and learning. This approach really captures what play and learning would be like. While this is a great tool for younger students I probably will not be taking my seniors out to the playground, but engaging them in fun and moving activities could really help their learning base. Great Post!

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    1. I had never heard of it before doing this week’s research either! I’m so glad I choose to learn some more about it. Combining learning with play should be something that is happening in our classrooms so much more than it is right now. It really is the best way to learn in my opinion!

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  4. I think that the Maker Movement sounds like a interesting teaching method. I like the idea that no child is left behind because they are in charge of their own learning. The only thing that I would be worried about is how it deals with subjects that students are heavily tested on. I think that having the chance for play as well gives students more of a drive to want to complete their work, like a reward. Good post.

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    1. One of the greatest things about the maker movement is that it focuses so heavily on all of the STEM curricular areas. It would take a little bit of creativity and planning by the classroom teachers to incorporate english and language arts, but it could absolutely be done. I think that this learning approach might work best as a supplement to other instructional methods rather than a complete replacement.

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  5. For all to of the downfalls and the struggle of assessing the work done I really do like the idea that you are talking about. I would have loved a place in school like this because it would allow me to use my hands. Anything to get up, move, and wake up is amazing in school.

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    1. A am also a learner who enjoys to use my hands to get up and make or do things. I think that we are not alone in this sense and it would be such a valuable opportunity to have in our schools. You would have to sit down and think about how you plan to assess your students in this atmosphere. It would take a little bit of creativity but I absolutely believe it can be done!

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  6. Ashlyn,
    The maker movement approach of learning is so interesting! I had already found which approach to learning I wanted to learn more about before I got to dive deeper into this approach. I think that this is such a great outlook to learning. Letting students create, collaborate, and imagine their own learning sets them up for success right away. I like how you mentioned that it is all inclusive, because every individual student is in charge of his/her own learning. I also love how you included the potential pitfalls with the maker movement as well as the positives. I know that many times I get so excited with possibilities that I sometimes overlook the glaring issues that could potentially halt something like this.
    Hillary

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    1. I think one of the most important things as an educator is the ability to be able to critically evaluate every situation and lesson or learning method that you are using or plan to use in your classroom. You have to make sure that what you are doing will work and be beneficial for all of your students, not just a few of them. After all of my research, I feel like the maker movement has some serious potential. It is up to us to bring these great new ideas and opportunities into the classroom for the future generation of students! Thanks for reading, Hillary!

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