The Maker movement is a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship. Certainly, learning by doing or “making” has been happening since our ancestors refined the wheel.
Don’t treat making as a sidebar to an already overtaxed curriculum. As you investigate the principles behind teaching STEAM via making, you’ll see sound research from many educators throughout history, including Jean Piaget who, in 1973, wrote:
[S]tudents who are thus reputedly poor in mathematics show an entirely different attitude when the problem comes from a concrete situation and is related to other interests.
In 1972, Seymour Papert predicted what many complain is the state of today’s apps and programs for modern students:
[T]he same old teaching becomes incredibly more expensive and biased toward its dumbest parts, namely the kind of rote learning in which measurable results can be obtained by treating the children like pigeons in a Skinner box.
Indeed, many of us go on first our first techno-rush as kids playing with erector sets, Legos, and the Radio Shack electronic kits. In a day when everyone thinks, “There’s an app for that,” many educators believe that we’re missing the point of technology if we think its best use is programming kids to memorize math facts. Students don’t want to use apps — they want to make them.
Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager write, in Invent to Learn, a book that some call the “Maker in Education bible”:
Maker classrooms are active classrooms. In active classrooms one will find engaged students, often working on multiple projects simultaneously, and teachers unafraid of relinquishing their authoritarian role. The best way to activate your classroom is for your classroom to make something.
A new generation of inventors is surfing the tide of the Maker movement. These classrooms emphasize making, inventing, and creativity. Let’s look at the terminology and trends that will help educators understand the Maker movement.
Society’s Move Toward Making
Here’s a quick overview of history and terminologies.
This bi-monthly magazine was first released in January 2005 by Dale Dougherty. It focuses on the Do It Yourself (DIY) and Do It With Others (DIWO) mindsets. Every issue features step-by-step projects that often use household materials to make complex gadgetry and inventions.
These massive events were initially created by Make Magazine to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects,” and DIY. The first Maker Faire was in April 2006 in San Mateo, California. Dozens of Maker Faires and mini Maker Faires have become a worldwide celebration for makers everywhere.