Spanish translation of Invent to Learn now available in Spanish – Inventar para Aprender

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I’m very proud to announce that Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom is now available in Spanish. This has always been a dream of ours, and now it’s here!

Inventar para Aprender: Guía práctica para instalar la cultura maker en el aula is a beautiful translation from Siglo Venintuino Editores. See the Siglo Veintiuno website for global distributors and online shopping information (Mercado Libre).

An e-book Kindle version is available from Amazon.com with the paperback version available on Amazon shortly.

El movimiento maker llegó para quedarse, de la mano de una tribu cada vez más amplia de personas convencidas de que la mejor manera de aprender es hacer (y, si es posible, desarmar y volver a armar). Para integrar conocimiento y acción, tienen magníficos aliados: los fablabs, la informática física y la programación.

Los recursos son infinitos y están casi al alcance de la mano: de hacer títeres con medias, lana y botones a programar robots futboleros; de reutilizar materiales descartados a crear diseños propios para fabricar objetos 3D; de armar figuras con papel y cinta adhesiva a editar podcasts o videos.

Este libro, pionero en español, es una guía completa para que educadores formales e informales lleven la creación y el construccionismo a las aulas, desde el jardín de infantes hasta la escuela secundaria. Con cálida sabiduría, Sylvia Libow Martínez y Gary Stager reúnen las ideas pedagógicas con la práctica, incluyendo los secretos y las dificultades: trabajar por proyectos, elegir y conseguir los materiales y tutoriales más convenientes, motivar a los chicos y hasta persuadir a la administración de la escuela.

En Inventar para aprender se alinean la teoría, la práctica y las herramientas para transmitir a los niños la sensación poderosa de que el mundo es un lugar en construcción. Y para acompañarlos a entrar en él como sus protagonistas: creando.

New book – The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio

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I’m very proud of the latest publication from Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio by Erin E. Riley. This is an absolutely gorgeous book of projects using 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC machines, and other tools found most often in school makerspaces. These are exceptionally inventive, beautiful, and thoughtful projects, brought to life with photos of student work and clear explanations of the steps and stages of how these projects unfold in the classroom, makerspace, or studio.

The book will be available in paperback and hardcover on May 6, 2019, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon and other online retailers. If you pre-order, you can have it in your hands on May 6!

Erin has created a unique book that offers a vision of STEAM that embraces Art as a primary motivation, with design as the guiding vision. Every project offers multiple understandings across all STEAM disciplines. This viewpoint creates avenues for teachers to understand how digital fabrication tools can be an opportunity for students to express themselves and find meaning in the world. It creates pathways for modern mathematics to emerge as concrete manifestations of precision and beauty. And it allows engineering to be fully expressed as the desire of humankind to make ideas become real.

It was a wonderful learning opportunity for me to edit this book. Erin is an amazing teacher, constantly adding and inventing new projects with her students, and then making them better. Her documentation is superb, and her explanations of the choices she makes as a teacher and designer are thoughtful and deeply enriching. And she is an artist, she hand designed every page of this book with loving care and attention to detail.

Erin organized the book by artistic process, rather than by tool. Processes like drawing, patterning, casting, prototyping, making 3D objects, and more are each explored with a variety of tools. This creates a treasure chest of inspiration and a relatable way for art teachers to see digital fabrication as an expansion of artistic vision. It opens a whole new way of thinking when you realize that drawing with a machine is similar to drawing with the hand, with the added benefit of being able to precisely draw with a laser, with a pen attached to a vinyl cutter, with code, light, or even with 3D filament. She also wrote an introduction explaining important concepts in graphic design and software, what students learn from digital fabrication, and making the case for STEAM in modern education.

For the past few months I’ve been carrying a dog-eared, marked-up copy of the work-in-progress proof of this book to various conferences and workshops, showing it to educators. The reaction has been extraordinary—people actually tried to convince me to sell them the unfinished proofs! But now the wait is over, it’s done and we can share it with the world. Check it out, you will not be disapointed.

Available for pre-order at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online.

Beautiful full-color photos, directions, and ideas for innovative projects using digital fabrication technology.

Features Inside the Book

  • Over 25 Digital Fabrication Projects with color photographs of steps and student work. All projects offer extension ideas, resources, and connections to STEAM curriculum.
  • The Project Cross-Reference lists projects by digital fabrication tools, supplies, and software. Color coding highlights certain process details in each project chapter.
  • An Art Material and Process Inventory intended to spark creativity and encourage the mixing of materials and processes within digital fabrication.
  • An Overview of the Digital Fabrication Machines commonly found in school labs or makerspaces.
  • Photocopy-friendly Design Guides and Checklists for the main design software programs demonstrated in this book can be given to students as they self-guide through each design program.
  • Maker Powers Classroom Poster
  • Curriculum Connections of digital fabrication experiences with skills and curriculum subjects.
  • Introductory articles supporting STEAM learning, where the Arts is integral to deep understanding of content and student empowerment.

Available for pre-order at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online.

For volume sales, PO purchases, or international sales, contact CMK Press. This book is now available from local distributors in the U.S, Australia, and the U.K.

ISTE 2019 Sessions

ISTE 2019 will be June 23-26, 2019 in Philadelphia. Hope to see you there!

Accepted proposals

The case for creativity and design in STEAM

  • Scheduled:
    • Sunday, June 23, 1:30–2:30 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
    • Building/Room: Available in May

STEAM to the Future: What’s Next in STEAM, Design, and Making 

  • Scheduled:
    • Monday, June 24, 1:30–2:30 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
    • Building/Room: Available in May

We Have a Makerspace, Now What? Four Directions Forward for Leaders 

  • Scheduled:
    • Wednesday, June 26, 8:30–9:30 am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
    • Building/Room: Available in May

Panel Conversations

More Stupid Ideas in EdTech (and why you should totally do them) 

  • Scheduled:
    • Monday, June 24, 10:30–11:30 am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
    • Building/Room: Available in May

Waitlisted proposals

.Girls & STEAM: Equity, Inclusion, and Excellence

Declined proposals

What’s a microcontroller and why should I care?

New! Second Edition of Invent to Learn Released

We are excited to announce that a newly revised and expanded edition of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom has just been released.

It’s been five years since Gary Stager and I published the first edition of Invent to Learn. In that time, schools around the world have embraced making, makerspaces, and more authentic STEM/STEAM experiences for all children. It’s been fun to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon!

The brand new second edition includes a lot of new material reflecting how much has changed in a few short years. There are many new microcontrollers to choose from, and many more that are better for school use. The fabrication chapter has been updated to reflect how the design process has been streamlined by hardware and software progress. There is an entirely new section on laser cutters and CNC machines.

Programming options have expanded as well with software appropriate for students as young as four years old. Finally, there are some fantastic and accessible environments for programming microcontrollers. When we published the first edition, we were positive that a good block-based programming language for Arduino was just around the corner. Although new software environments emerged, they lacked the polish and stability required to make a difference in classrooms. Now things are different.

There is more research about the positive impact of fabrication, robotics, and coding to share. All of the suggested resources have been updated and expanded. The online resources here on inventtolearn.com are even more extensive.

The additions and updates to the book go beyond mentions of new technology and fixing broken URLs. There are new examples from educators around the world who have embraced making in their classrooms. There is more context provided for the connections between project-based learning and making. We attempt to be clearer about the real reason that making matters—not to build a special room or purchase equipment, but to make schools a better place for ALL students and teachers to learn.

The second edition is now available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle on the Amazon website and other online retailers. For volume sales, using a PO, or international sales, please contact sales@cmkpress.com.

Korea: Creating Tomorrow’s Talent Today

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Our plenary panel – Inae Kang – Kyung Hee University, Sherry Lassiter – Fab Foundation, me, and San Ko – CEO A-TEAM Ventures (and former astronaut!)
Recently I was a plenary speaker at the Global HR Forum in Seoul, South Korea. This conference attracted a combination of educators from K-20, press, Human Resource managers, government and policy makers, students, and corporate types mostly from South Korea, but a few from around the world. It made for some interesting conversations about the changing nature of work, and how education is or isn’t changing to meet those needs. Our plenary session was on “Maker Education for Tomorrow” and featured Sherry Lassiter, President & CEO, The Fab Foundation, San Ko, CEO of A-TEAM Ventures, and me, moderated by Inae Kang Professor, The Graduate School of Education, Kyung Hee University. We each got 20 minutes to make our case for how making can make and is making education more relevant and more closely connected to the jobs that really exist today, and will only increase in the future. Then we had the luxury to have a conversation and answer audience questions for another 30 minutes. All of this was being simultaneously translated into English and Korean as needed. It was quite extraordinary. I wish more conferences used a similar format, it gave us all a chance to build on the commonalities of what we were saying, plus expand on the points that the audience was most interested in. Dr. Kang provided expert moderation, helped provide context, and brought some of her lovely graduate students who had some great comments as well! One of audience questions came from a middle school student who was representing a large group of young people who were also attending the conference. All stakeholder groups indeed!
I hope to have video to post soon! Stay tuned…

Quick Reference Guide to Making and Makerspaces in Education

         Buy now from NPR Inc.!
From Sylvia Martinez, co-author of the groundbreaking book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, comes Making and Makerspaces in Education, a concise yet comprehensive quick-reference tool that draws on lessons from the Maker Movement to help educators create classrooms and schools that offer engaging hands-on, minds-on learning experiences for students in grades K-12. This 6 page laminated guide helps educators get started with making, offering a framework for planning the logistics, student experience, and space design, with an eye toward building inclusive makerspaces. It provides practical guidance on planning a makerspace and makerspace program, with detailed recommendations for:
  • Projects and logistics;
  • Tools and materials;
  • Space design.
Other features of the guide include:
  • General considerations for materials to collect and technology to buy for makerspaces.
  • Specific recommendations for free, low-cost, and “worth spending money on” tools and technology for grades pre-K-4, upper elementary and middle school, and high schools.
Download a flyer to print and share.

Pre-order and receive 15% off!! Estimated in-stock date: December 15, 2018

Product Type: Laminated GuideYear: 2019 Pages: 6 Size: 8.5″ x 11″ ISBN: 9781938539213 Item Code: MAKR Price: $12.95 Pre-order price: $11.01

FabLearn 2019 – Making Change in the World

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FABLEARN 2019 – 8th Annual Conference on Maker Education – Columbia University, New York, March 2019

Call for Submissions – Deadline: December 4, 2018

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FabLearn 2019 – 8th Annual Conference on Maker Education, in cooperation with Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI), invites submissions for its 8th Annual Conference, to be held on March 9-10 at Teachers College, Columbia University. The conference theme in 2019 is: “What role does Maker Education play in a world with growing social and environmental challenges?”

FabLearn is a venue for educators, policy-makers, students, designers, researchers, students, and makers to present, discuss, and learn about digital fabrication in education, the maker culture, and hands-on, constructionist learning. We are seeking submissions for:

– Research Papers (full and short papers)
– Demos (projects, curricula, software, or hardware)
– Workshops (demonstrating fabrication tools, skills, and techniques to conference attendees)
– Student Showcase (for elementary to high-school students to show their projects or share rich learning experiences)
– Educator Submissions (for educators to share best practices, curricula, experiences, and visions)

All submissions will be due by December 4, 2018, by 11:59 pm (Eastern Standard Time). Decisions will be sent in the beginning of January.

We use the EasyChair conference submission system:
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=fablearn2019

More information at https://nyc2019.fablearn.org

Making and ELL: Conversational Confidence

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Download full report from this site.

In a new study from Drexel University, researchers found that makerspaces help students learning English to feel more confident using their new language skills.

Making Culture: A National Study of Education Makerspaces, confirms something I’ve heard anecdotally from educators. Doing interesting things means that students talk about the interesting things they are doing.

Now there is a study confirming this (and more).

“In our research, we observed the potential of makerspaces to improve engagement with English language learners (ELL) and students facing disciplinary issues. First-generation English learners expressed greater agency and self-confidence from their experience in makerspaces. These students felt empowered to work on new language skills in the open and collaborative environment through conversations with their peers. Student interviewees suggested that working on creative problem-solving projects reduced the fear of making mistakes when speaking out loud, fostering greater fluency and retention:

  • ELL students referenced reduced anxiety with language around school activities based on collaboration in makerspaces.
  • ELL students referenced using technical manuals as part of their literacy development.
  • ELL students referenced using technical manuals as part of their literacy development.
  • ELL students expressed being more comfortable using their native language to problem solve or complete assignments in the makerspace than in other STEM settings.

 Teachers also frequently referenced specific changes in behavior in their ELL students from makerspace participation, leading them to believe that engagement had improved.”


Making Culture is the first in-depth examination of K-12 education makerspaces nationwide and was created as part of the ExCITe Center’s Learning Innovation initiative. This report reveals the significance of cultural aspects of making (student interests, real world relevance, and community collaboration) that enable learning. The research highlights how makerspaces foster a range of positive student learning outcomes, but also reflect some of the gaps in inclusion common in the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) fields. The report was co-authored by Drexel School of Education researchers Dr. Kareem Edouard, Katelyn Alderfer, Professor Brian Smith and ExCITe Center Director Youngmoo Kim.

Words matter – gender bias in makerspaces

Making Culture Report thumbnail
Download full report from this site.

In a new study from Drexel University, researchers found that makerspace facilitators betray gender bias when talking about their students.

Instructors primarily referred to male students as “geeks”, “builders” and “designers” (never “boys”), but most frequently referred to female students as “girls” or even, “helpers”.

Making Culture: A National Study of Education Makerspaces

Never. They NEVER referred to the male students as boys. Why? It’s an easy slip to make, reflecting the norm that “boys” are the expected gender, the way things are supposed to be, and girls have to be pointed out.

The problem is, even when it’s unintentional (and the researchers in this study felt it was) it still has impact. If girls feel they are being singled out, even subtly, it can trigger feelings of not belonging, stereotype threat, and other well-documented consequences.

So next time you start to call out, “OK guys…” take a beat and see if there’s something else to say.

If you are thinking, Wow, get off my back, thought police… think about this. You wouldn’t say “Hey gals…” to a mixed gender group, would you? And you definitely wouldn’t say it to a group of all boys. The boys would think that’s an insult, right? Why is being called a girl the ultimate insult for boys, but girls are just supposed to live with being called guys all day every day.

OK folks…. OK class…. OK y’all… it’s not impossible. And it matters.

More from – Making Culture: A National Study of Education Makerspaces

“The sheer number of identity references based entirely upon gender (“girls”) is deeply unsettling. Also note that the use of “boys” in referring to makerspace students did not occur at all in these interviews. This gender imbalance shaped attitudes and activities within the makerspaces:

  • Boys were twice as likely to hold leadership positions in group makerspace activities;
  • Boys were more likely to steer major project topics (robotics challenge, Lego, solar car design);

We also observed a gender disparity in expressed design agency (ability to design or guide project activities) in formal vs. informal learning makerspaces. Boys expressed greater agency in formal spaces whereas girls expressed greater agency in informal spaces.

This evidence suggests a persistent, but possibly unintentional, culture of bias reinforced by makerspace leadership. Research into boys and girls engaging in STEM learning reveals that girls and boys have equal potential to become proficient in STEM subjects (evidenced in our study through nearly equal makerspace participation in grades K-8).

While most leaders believe that makerspaces have the potential to function as a safe space where girls and young women can engage in an open collaborative learning environment while dismantling gender stereotypes, our research also indicates that more must be done to achieve an inclusive culture of gender equity.”

So there is another interesting tidbit. The boys “expressed greater agency” in formal spaces, whereas the girls reversed that role in informal spaces. Why? Perhaps because when it counts, boys are more aggressive in taking control? Or is it that instructors are tipping this balance?

All good research tends to create as many questions as it answers!

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Making Culture is the first in-depth examination of K-12 education makerspaces nationwide and was created as part of the ExCITe Center’s Learning Innovation initiative. This report reveals the significance of cultural aspects of making (student interests, real world relevance, and community collaboration) that enable learning. The research highlights how makerspaces foster a range of positive student learning outcomes, but also reflect some of the gaps in inclusion common in the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) fields. The report was co-authored by Drexel School of Education researchers Dr. Kareem Edouard, Katelyn Alderfer, Professor Brian Smith and ExCITe Center Director Youngmoo Kim.

Meet me at FETC 2019!

I hope to see old friends and new at FETC 2019 in Orlando, January 27-30, 2019. I’ll be talking STEM/STEAM, Creativity, Making and Makerspaces, PBL for Making, What’s New/What’s Next for STEAM, and more. Use my discount signup page to save an extra 10%!

January 29, 2019 – Tuesday

Book signing – NEW edition Invent to Learn – Main Exhibit Hall

2:30 – 3:00 PM Tuesday Jan 29 – I will be signing copies of the new edition of Invent to Learn.

January 30, 2019 – Wednesday