Agency by Design - Maker-Centered Learning and the Development of Self: Preliminary Findings of the Agency by Design Project

Date: 
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Resource Type:
Reference Materials | Report
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Making and Tinkering Programs
Audience: 
General Public | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
Discipline: 
Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Technology
Organization:
Harvard Project Zero
Description: 

Through a generous three-year grant from the Abundance Foundation, the Agency by Design (AbD) initiative at Project Zero, a research organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, began to investigate the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning. Over the last two years we have simultaneously pursued three strands of work: 1) a review of pertinent literature; 2) interviews and site visits with leading maker educators; and 3) action research and concept development. We’re now commencing our third year of work. Our active data collection stage is over. We are well into an analysis of our results and are currently preparing several publications—including a book. However, in the put-it-out-there-and-tweak as-you-go spirit of the maker movement, we offer this white paper as a preliminary glimpse at the emergent findings from our work, and as an open invitation to the maker educator community to continue to connect with us and share ideas. In the pages ahead, we offer a strand-by-strand overview of our developing work, and conclude by presenting the “big take away” from our research and by making suggestions for policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders. Along the way, we identify what we consider to be the most salient benefits of maker-centered learning for young people and, introduce some of the key concepts and resources that have emerged from our work, including the concept of maker empowerment, the importance of developing a sensitivity to design, and the three pathways that lead to these desired outcomes.

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