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It’s full steam ahead on this fun-fueled mode of learning. If you’re not onboard with the Maker Movement, it’s time to move your train of thought in the direction of this global community of problem solvers and innovators that’s changing the face of education. The revolution is fueling the educatio

Jul 26, 2017

It’s full steam ahead on this fun-fueled mode of learning.


If you’re not onboard with the Maker Movement, it’s time to move your train of thought in the direction of this global community of problem solvers and innovators that’s changing the face of education. The revolution is fueling the education scene and STEAM-ing along around the world, challenging students to be curious, and creative innovators.

Best summed up, the Maker Movement calls for children to learn by doing. Think constructing, programming, sewing — and on and on. A colossal opportunity to allow students to lead their learning, this is a truly 21st-century take on promoting critical thinking, innovation, and global citizenship. Makers take on the task of creating solutions to real-world problems. And the possibilities are — by design — limitless.

“Makerspaces” — community labs with access to tools ranging from laser cutters to 3D printers — are popping up on K-12 campuses, challenging students to make the solutions to real-life problems in a vast range of fields. Given access to materials and tech tools, students brainstorm, create, and design — and then circle back around to test, criticize, and improve. Teachers take the role of mentors, directors, and instigators … anything but lecturers.

The Maker Movement isn’t new. It has scattered roots that go way back (not to mention the notion of learning by doing goes as far back as, well, we do). But it’s a trend that is picking up the pace. This is partly because schools have increased accessibility to technology and materials that were previously cost prohibitive. Today’s makerspaces are equipped with the tools of scientists and engineers, allowing students to wear those hats and take inquiry-based learning by the horns. However, expensive tech tools aren’t necessary — many start-up spaces begin with shared, recycled, and donated materials.

From designing new toys to 3D-printer prosthetics, inventing electronic clothing to building talking robots, it’s not actually the end product that has the most impact on student engineers — it’s the meaning and the connections that are made in the midst of the making. The Movement lends itself easily to an authentic audience. Makers share their work openly, collaborating internationally with other innovators and experts.

At the heart of it all, the Maker Movement is about mindset. Instead of looking at STEAM coursework as individual building blocks toward the next academic step, the movement reimagines science, tech, engineering, art, and mathematics as spaces for students to engage as current experts, tinkerers, and professionals. As students “make,” the hands-on experiences provide powerful platforms to understand abstract math and science — a deeper understanding that’s so much more inspired than worksheets and drills.

The Maker Movement’s mission to learn through doing takes hard work and makes it exciting, challenging, and fun — and we’re on track with that. Full STEAM ahead!

For more info and resources, check out Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager, Make Magazine, and Maker Faires.

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