Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power: Toward Transformative Visions for Educational Equity

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Making and Tinkering Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | General Public | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Engineering | General STEM | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Immigrant Communities
Low Socioeconomic Status
Northwestern University, Exploratorium

In this essay, Shirin Vossoughi, Paula Hooper, and Meg Escude advance a critique of branded, culturally normative definitions of making and caution against their uncritical adoption into the educational sphere. The authors argue that the ways making and equity are conceptualized can either restrict or expand the possibility that the growing maker movement will contribute to intellectually generative and liberatory educational experiences for working-class students and students of color. After reviewing various perspectives on making as educative practice, they present a framework that treats the following principles as starting points for equity-oriented research and design: critical analyses of educational injustice; historicized approaches to making as cross-cultural activity; explicit attention to pedagogical philosophies and practices; and ongoing inquiry into the sociopolitical values and purposes of making. These principles are grounded in their own research and teaching in the Tinkering Afterschool Program as well as in the insights and questions raised by critical voices both inside and outside the maker movement.

Publication Name: 
Harvard Educational Review

Team Members

Paula HooperPaula HooperAuthor
Meg EscudeMeg EscudeAuthor

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