"The idea behind the maker movement is that people learn best by sharing, creating and producing things together."
“Maker Education is an education approach that positions the student as an innovator with the responsibility to find solutions to relevant problems. The approach integrates the breadth of STEM fields and emphasizes student agency through exploration, communication and collaboration. The Maker student learns content within an authentic context that requires communication, collaboration, research, design, modeling, tinkering, and prototyping. The Maker teacher designs the learning context and facilitates the process so that students acquire specific content-area skills throughout the learning experience. For example, a student might learn geometric angles through building craft objects from wood. Maker Education combines elements of Problem Based Learning (PBL) and STEM education with an emphasis on the creative elements inherent in science, mathematics and engineering.
Maker Education places a premium on the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indefinite tinkering and fiddling, while larger projects need complex, coordinated planning. Often, small projects can organically grow into larger and larger projects. This deliberate process strengthens and enriches a learner’s executive functioning skills. Additionally, communication and collaboration are two of Maker Ed’s fundamental values, enabled through Makerspaces.” https://www5.esc13.net/thescoop/insight/2015/04/making-stem-centered-makerspaces-work/
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. – A WHITE PAPER PRESENTED BY AGENCY BY DESIGN PROJECT ZERO, HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Maker education can be taught at every grade level. There are many success stories at every grade level.
The Development & Growth of the Maker Movement in Sonoma County Schools
“By refocusing teaching and learning on “thinking with your hands and learning through doing,” we began to witness the excitement of students who were engaged in making; they were having their minds blown! By rethinking school spaces and creating makerspaces with a focus on “phenomena, tools, and materials,” students had opportunities to explore through play, inquiry, and iteration. We began to see how much of their learning took place when their attempts were unsuccessful. Rather than looking for a correct answer or moving on to the next task, students were reflecting on the process, collaborating with their peers to find a workable solution, revising their plans, taking risks, and trying it all over again. We were thrilled to find these maker-based experiences to be authentic and innovative and it deepened students’ understanding of content as well.
Your education goals will drive your schools’ needs. Schools can start teaching maker skills with existing equipment and tools. Given the need to teach 21st century skills, many schools have decided to create a maker space and teach creativity, design and engineering skills utilizing 3D printers and other fab lab equipment.
“The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in what types of skillsets have real, applicable value in a rapidly advancing world. In this landscape, creativity, design and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations as tools such as 3D printers, robotics, and 3D modeling web based applications become accessible to more people. The question of how to renovate or repurpose classrooms to address the needs of the future is being answered through the concept of Makerspaces, or workshops that offer tools and the learning experiences needed to help people carry out their ideas.
Among the more surprising results from the report preview was the exponential growth in workshops focused on 3D printing, commonly known as Makerspaces. Over the next several years, Makerspaces are projected to reach nearly a quarter of U.S. classrooms, says the NMC, and the technology is already beginning to reshape how classrooms function.”