Equity and the Maker Movement: Integrating Children’s Communities and Social Networks into Making
For many children, gaining access to STEM education is an uphill battle. Inequity and underrepresentation of children from marginalized communities persist. Research has pointed not only to an access opportunity gap but also to an identity gap--children from nondominant communities often do not "see" themselves in dominant STEM structures (Authors 2013). The maker movement has evoked interest for its potential role in breaking down barriers to STEM learning and attainment (Martin 2015). Characterized by hands-on working with materials (e.g., cardboard, fabric, wood) and digital components (e.g., 3D printing), making is highly sought after by educators as a productive STEM opportunity for children. However, many making experiences designed for children have been criticized for their trivial, "once-off" nature, without prolonged, meaningful engagement toward more complex projects (Blikstein and Worsley 2016).