Maker education is a modern approach to problem-based and project-based learning. It relies heavily on collaborative, hands-on learning experiences in order to solve authentic problems. This type of education can take place outside of the classroom in “makerspaces,” or in schools. Maker education emphasizes learner-driven experience, interdisciplinary learning, p2p teaching, and mistake-based learning.
Maker culture is a contemporary, technology-based culture that is adjunct to the DIY movement, and holds similar values as STEM education. This culture is propelled by an artisan spirit and encourages active learning in informal, peer-led, shared experiences motivated by self-fulfillment. Typical interests of makers include engineering, 3d printing, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. Many products produced by makers are focused on promoting and monetizing healthy eating/living, sustainability, environmentalism, and local culture.
Maker Education in Schools
Maker education has been gaining momentum in schools across america for the last 15 years. The Elizabeth Forward School District, located just south of Pittsburgh, adopted maker ed district-wide, and partnered with Carnegie Mellon to provide training and development for teachers to add makers ed to the curriculum.
President Obama brought attention to the movement in 2014 by holding the first ever White House Maker Faire in June. Since then, many other schools and educators have been supporting the implementation of maker education in classrooms. Advocates of the maker movement believe that making provides the opportunity to close the gender gap by bringing more women to STEM fields, as well as increasing educational equity in public school students.
The maker movement is an interesting development of a culture saturated with DIYers, entrepreneurs and problem solvers. Whether it makes its way into classrooms across the nation remains to be seen. However there are certainly plenty of opportunities for anyone to engage in making education in physical or online communities.