This month in HaYidion, the magazine of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network, Gary and I wrote an article called What Schools Can Learn from the Maker Movement. Here’s a bit of it.
Kid makers possess a skill set and self-efficacy that will serve them well in school, as long as they are engaged in interesting activities worthy of their capacity for intensity. Despite the swirling politics and external pressures on schools, the maker movement may offer teachers cause for optimism. The stuff of making is super-cool and gives those teachers so inclined another chance to reanimate progressive education. If your administrator likes to buy shiny new things, then there are plenty of things to buy that actually amplify the potential of children. Silicon Valley billionaires are endorsing the nonprofit Code.org, which advocates for kids to learn computer programming. President Obama, Bill Gates, the CEO of Google, and the Association for Computing Machinery are campaigning for computer science to be a curriculum staple from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
None of these experiences or the materials that enable them are inconsistent with the imaginations of children or with the types of learning experiences society has long valued. Making is a stance that puts the learner at the center of the educational process and creates opportunities that students may never have encountered themselves. Makers are confident, competent, curious citizens in a new world of possibility.