The Maker Movement
We have recently concluded yet another book study at the Hood School. As a learning community we are always learning together as a means to enhance our practice. During the late fall and early winter we read The Maker Movement Manifesto by Mark Hatch. We selected this topic as the Maker Movement is slowly infiltrating schools across the country.
The Maker Movement, a technological and creative learning revolution that is underway around the globe, is a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship. This movement has exciting and vast implications for the world of education. New tools and technology, such as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages are being invented at an unprecedented pace. The Maker Movement creates affordable or even free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem-solvers. Makers are people who like to figure out and fix problems with their hands. Indeed, many of us went on our first techno-rush as kids playing with Legos and 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. Groff (2013) points out, “We are reaching a period where it is just as easy for young people to produce . . . multimodal, multimedia content as to consume it” (p. 23). Furthermore, Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager write, in Invent to Learn, that “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.”
Creating spaces for students to engage in these practices is a hot trend in education. These spaces are commonly referred to as “Makerspaces.” Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative do-it- yourself (DIY) spaces where people can gather to create, invent and learn. In libraries Makerspaces often have 3D printers, software, electronics, hardware supplies and tools. Participants, or Makers, can create digital and physical items in common working spaces using shared equipment and resources.
As a school we are excited to begin to plan and build a Makerspace of our own and engage our students through these practices.