Do You Learn Better Through Making?
To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowMaker
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Do you learn better through a hands on making process? Share something that you have made recently. What have you always wanted to learn to make?
For several years now, the practice of making things has really turned into a cultural phenomenon. Referred to as Maker Culture or the DIY Movement, self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert (aka do-it-yourself), usually involving technology and online sharing has truly exploded around us, especially in the Bay Area. Why is this happening? Brit Morin, Founder and CEO of Brit + Co., jabs at the origins of this revival in a recent Huff Post article claiming that, “most people my age (AKA millennials) probably had two busy, working parents while growing up (and therefore likely did not get a deep education on many of these skills) and you’ll realize why we are all now flocking to do-it-yourself (DIY) websites and apps that will teach us the cooking, crafting and making skills that many of us missed out on in our youth and which now are so important as we build homes and start families.”
In her article, Morin goes into a more extensive definition of “DIY” or “Maker,” identifying its relationship to “how-to” content, including things like “how to change a tire.” Over the past couple of years, though, it’s been used more broadly to describe any activity that incorporates creative skills to make or design something on your own. Using this definition, DIY can stand for everything from baking a cake, to decorating a bedroom, to creating handmade products like jewelry. Some also use DIY in a more technical context as it relates to making gadgets like robots, printers and other programmable devices hacked together using free software and tools found across the web.
Maker culture is now shifting into the education arena where instructors are implementing project-based and self-directed learning models for students to problem solve and discover learning moments throughout their inquiry process. Gever Tulley founded Tinkering School in 2005 in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything.
Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make Magazine — and the de factor leader of the Maker Movement — has a vision to create a network of libraries, museums, and schools with what he calls “makerspaces” that draw on common resources and experts in each community. Libraries and museums, he said, are easier places to incorporate makerspaces than schools, because they have more space flexibility and they’re trying to attract teens with their programs.
As the influence in maker culture seeps into education and learning, there has also been debate as to whether this cultural shift can become more prominent in formal educational institutions. Audrey Waters from Hack Education writes that “The Maker Movement also reflects the technological, political, and economic zeitgeist: the need for a technologically skilled work force, hope for a revival of American manufacturing, concern about STEM education all the while cutting many of the programs in schools that foster these skills — arts, wood shop, metal shop, computer science — to make more room for more standardized testing.”
There is no doubt that “maker” is making headway, but the growing skepticism around its role in formal education due to lack of resources and emphasis on testing is called into question. Can schools embrace a maker movement?
KQED MindShift video Adam Savage: Permission to Make – May 24, 2012
MythBusters host Adam Savage has a thing or two to say about the importance of tinkering — even if that means it gets messy. “If you don’t get a chance to fail, if you don’t get a chance to try things and not get them right the first time, and you keep on doing it until you do get that specific kind of success, then you become so risk-averse that you in fact get an allergy to trying new things. And that is the worst thing we can do to kids.”
To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowMaker
For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.
We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.
PBS NewsHour post New York City’s Maker Faire Delivers Dazzling Colors, Wacky Inventions
A multi-functional unicorn shoots fire from its horn while sneezing glitter. A six-person ensemble plays instruments made of saw blades, propane tanks, automotive parts, and simple household objects. Cars shaped like cupcakes made of reused electric-car parts and encased in hand-bent aluminum tins circle festival goers.
PBS NewsHour video Can DIY Movement Fix a Crisis in U.S. Science Education?
Miles O’Brien reports from a gathering in California on a growing movement that embraces the art of making cool things and a quirky do-it-yourself spirit. Supporters see “making” as one way to overcome a crisis in American science and math education.
Nirvan Mullick’s Caine’s Arcade
A 9 year old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store is about to have the best day of his life. Help Caine’s Scholarship Fund: http://CainesArcade.com This movie inspired a movement of cardboard & creativity in kids around the world. Join our Imagination Foundation & Global Cardboard Challenge: http://imagination.is
DIY presents Lego stop motion
DIY is a community for kids to share what they do, learn new skills and meet others with the same interests. Nyancat123, a DIY user, made this stop motion video to complete a challenge for the Animator skill.