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Educating Teachers for the Maker Movement: Pre-service Teachers' Experiences Facilitating Maker Activities



In this paper, we describe an event where 33 pre-service elementary school teachers planned and facilitated a School Maker Faire as part of their elementary science teaching methods course. We focus on one group of four pre-service teachers who facilitated a balloon rocket station and examine the decisions they made when facilitating children's interactions at the stations and how these decisions led to constraining or creating opportunities for children to engage in engineering design.
Educating Teachers for the Maker Movement: Pre-service
Teachers’ Experiences Facilitating Maker Activities
Sean O’Brien, Alexandria K. Hansen, Danielle B. Harlow
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9490
{sobrien, akillian, dharlow}
In this paper, we describe an event where 33 pre-service
elementary school teachers planned and facilitated a School
Maker Faire as part of their elementary science teaching methods
course. We focus on one group of four pre-service teachers who
facilitated a balloon rocket station and examine the decisions they
made when facilitating children’s interactions at the stations and
how these decisions led to constraining or creating opportunities
for children to engage in engineering design.
CCS Concepts
Applied Computing!Education!Interactive Learning
School Maker Faire; Maker Education; Teacher Education;
Elementary Schools; Facilitation
While the Maker Movement is more commonly associated with
informal learning spaces such as museums and afterschool clubs,
the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards [1] makes
this an ideal time to consider how maker education can enhance
existing practices in K-12 schools. Ensuring this movement is
accessible to all children is critical, particularly when considering
the underrepresentation of females and some ethnic groups among
professional scientists and engineers. In 2008, 75% of scientists
and engineers were Caucasian, 13% were Asian, 5% were
Hispanic and less than 5% were African American. Furthermore,
only 35% of the total amount of scientists and engineers were
women [2]. The excitement surrounding maker education for
learning and recent advances in technologies can be leveraged to
address the lack of diversity among professional scientists and
engineers. To do so, we must prepare K-12 teachers to introduce
making within the classroom rather than only in out-of-school
contexts that are typically limited to a subset of the population.
This year, we transformed a university science methods course for
elementary school teachers to include a focus on maker education.
The pre-service teachers planned and facilitated a School Maker
Faire with a specific focus on assessing student learning in the
context of making. This teaching context differed considerably
from their prior teaching experiences. We observed and
interviewed these teachers to understand their experiences.
Papert’s theory of constructionism paved the way for rethinking
the current state of education through including making [3]. Too
often, school is viewed as separate from students’ every day lives
and not focused on what students want to learn [4,5], requiring
many students to look outside of formal education to fulfill their
curiosities. By integrating technology in student-centered learning
environments such as maker spaces in schools, more students are
finding value in school [6]. When students create with technology
they “become more engaged, spend more time investigating
and/or constructing and take ownership for and build confidence
in their abilities to learn and understand” [7]. Moreover, making
activities appeal to a wide range of learners, with varying interests
and skills, including individuals who do not consider themselves
particularly skilled in science or mathematics.
Only recently has research begun to focus attention on making in
formal education [8,9], and research on how to prepare teachers to
facilitate maker education activities within the traditional
classroom setting is beginning to emerge. Martin et al. [10]
conducted a professional development for 30 middle and high
school teachers that focused on design-based learning and creating
with technology such as Arduinos and 3D printers. The
participating teachers were proud of their creations, but struggled
with the technology and the required programming. Wardrip and
Brahms [11] described experiences with a mobile makerspace
associated with MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of
Pittsburgh. They partnered with two suburban elementary schools
to integrate making into the curriculum. Educators at both schools
attended a summer “boot camp” and participated in ongoing
training from museum facilitators. The preliminary findings
identified three factors that influenced whether the teachers
implemented making in their classrooms: 1) how school
leadership selected participating teachers, 2) available space for
making, and 3) how making was (or was not) connected to
learning already occurring in the classroom. Successful teachers
wanted to incorporate making into their classrooms, found
creative ways to connect making to other content areas, and did
better when there was a designated space for making. Our study
differs from these earlier studies in that we study pre-service
teachers in an elementary teacher credential program.
This work is part of a larger study that takes a design-based
research approach. Design based research “focuses on the
messiness or real-world practices, with the context being a core
part of the story and not an extraneous variable to be trivialized”
[12]. Such an approach assumes that learning and the contexts in
which learning occurs are complex and involve the simultaneous
and mutually reinforcing tasks of designing curricula or learning
contexts and systematically observing learning. Outcomes include
changes to the local context and contributions to models of how
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learners think. Ultimately, we seek to identify the pedagogical
practices that beginning teachers need in order to facilitate
effective maker education activities in their classrooms and the
types of experiences that help teachers develop these practices.
3.1 Participants and Context
The participants were enrolled in an elementary school teacher
credential program. Of the 33 students, 29 were female. As is
typical of California teacher education programs, all entering
students had previously finished their undergraduate degree. The
13-month teacher credential program spanned an academic year,
including the summer before and after. The Elementary Science
Methods course was held during the second half of the program.
The course met 10 times for three hours each. Students began this
class having already completed two quarters (summer and fall) of
coursework and had spent five months in elementary school
classrooms. The course was taught by a member of the faculty and
a graduate student teaching assistant (both authors of this paper).
The primary goals of the class were to introduce teacher
candidates to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and
help them develop strategies and content knowledge that would
help them begin their teaching careers as well-started beginners
[13] in the area of science. In the 2015-2016 year, the course
emphasized Maker Education and design thinking. We used
research on teacher education and on informal science learning to
develop an initial set of experiences for pre-service teachers in a
teacher credential program. These experiences included
participating in the type of learning we expect them to teach, in
this case Maker Education activities, focused attention on
children’s learning through video analysis of children engaging in
engineering activities, facilitating informal science learning
activities, along with learning about the NGSS. Teachers also
received explicit instruction on design thinking and opportunities
to practice the design process, in line with Stanford’s Institute of
Design [14]. We considered design thinking as a mindset to
approach problems, and the process of design as the iterative
combination of steps involved in creating solutions to the
problems. The culminating activity was that the teacher
candidates facilitated a School Maker Faire for the local
elementary school students in their practicum courses. It is this
event (the School Maker Faire) that we focus on in this paper.
3.2 Data Collection and Analysis
Consistent with design-based research, we collected a variety of
types of data including student work, final reflections, class
observations, video and audio recordings of a subset of students
engaging with children at the School Maker Faire event, and
interviews with a subset of the video recorded students about their
interactions with children and decisions they made at the event
and in preparation for the event. Our goal in this paper is to
understand the events at the School Maker Faire and how the
participating teachers engaged with children.
To understand this event, a subset of pre-service teachers were
filmed during the School Maker Faire and interviewed following
the event. These interviews used stimulated recall [15]. That is,
the pre-service teachers were shown video of themselves
interacting with students and asked what they were thinking about
at the time. This allowed focusing in on specific instances where
the teacher candidates choose to interact with children or not.
School Maker Faires focus on K-12 schools and are smaller than
flagship or mini Maker Faires and the focus is inward looking
celebrating the work of individuals and groups at the particular
school. Licensed School Maker Faires (free registration on their
website) have permission to use the School Maker Faire logo, are
provided with print resources detailing best practices for hosting a
maker faire, and are introduced to a community of other School
Maker Faire producers to share resources, questions, and stories.
Our School Maker Faire was unusual in that the school was a
teacher education program and our guests were the children (and
their families) in the 33 elementary school classrooms the teacher
candidates were placed in for their student teacher placement
classrooms. We also invited all local elementary teachers and
administrators. The event was held during the pre-service
teachers’ final class on a Thursday evening and lasted two and a
half hours. Over 400 visitors attended.
Prior to the School Maker Faire event, the pre-service teachers
worked in groups of 2-4 to develop a plan for a hands-on activity
that would invite and engage children to participate in a “making”
activity that connected to the NGSS performance expectations or
specific disciplinary core ideas, practices, and cross-cutting
concepts. We also invited local organizations that worked with
children, had displays made by children, held a panel discussion
with teachers who were already integrating maker education into
their classrooms, and held workshops about coding and 3D
printing. In total, we had 24 hands-on booths or student displays
which included making circuits from conductive playdough,
building and launching stomp rockets, building bird feeders from
recycled materials, and making and racing cars from Lego and
others. Here we focus on one specific activity, balloon rockets.
This activity was filmed in its entirety at the School Maker Faire,
and all pre-service teachers in the group consented to participate
in research. Following the School Maker Faire all participated in
at least two interviews about the event and their interactions. Four
students (referred to here as Mary, Amber, Ruth, and Sally)
worked on the balloon rockets station. Children attached a balloon
(or multiple balloons) to a toilet paper roll or straw, and added
fins or other structures to the rockets. The rockets were propelled
forward along a string when air was released from the balloon.
The following subsections look at the ways the pre-service
teachers' attempted to facilitate design thinking and making while
also looking at the tensions they encountered.
5.1.1 Being Prepared
The first theme we identified was being prepared. Interviews
were coded for this when the pre-service teachers mentioned talk
about the need for or importance of preparation. The pre-service
teachers in the focus group universally described the desire and
need to be prepared for the maker faire- a logical motivation
considering that the faire ultimately received around 400 visitors
To prepare the pre-service teachers for the event, a mock Maker
Fare was held the previous week in their Methods course. Prior to
the mock Maker Faire, this group planned to make balloon
powered cars, not rockets. However, as they set up the station for
their peers, they got stuck on how to prepare the materials for the
event. They conceptualized the balloon cars activity as a station
containing specific pre-prepared parts for the cars and step-by-
step directions so that children could easily assemble the cars. For
these pre-service teachers, preparation included drilling holes in
bottle caps (wheels), cutting straws (axles), and cutting cardboard
(the car body). As they prototyped their balloon car, and tried to
propel it forward, they struggled to make it move. They concluded
that the balloon cars were both preparation-intensive and too
difficult for kids to assemble in a way that would yield positive
results (i.e., the car moving forward).
During an interview, Ruth recalled asking herself, "How can we
actually make this an activity where they could try out different
things?" One group member recalled an earlier suggestion to
make balloon rockets as an alternative to balloon cars. The group
repurposed their materials to see if they could get a balloon to
propel a rocket along a string. They taped a balloon to a section of
straw and put it on the string. When released, the rocket spun
around the string, travelling forward about a foot. This resulted in
excitement and other group members suggesting ideas for how to
get the rocket to travel further along the string. As the group
redesigned the rocket, one group member exclaimed, "This is so
fun! They [children] would love this! But we have to find a way to
make them be successful or they will be arguing.” At this point,
preparing for the School Maker Faire provided an opportunity for
the pre-service teachers to participate in design thinking. The pre-
service teachers recognized this as the type of experience that they
hoped to have kids participate in. Yet, they felt they still needed to
"find a way to make them be successful."
During their post-event interview, all four of pre-service teachers
reported feeling unprepared for the School Maker Faire before the
event. Amber recalled being concerned that they only, "had a box
of materials, but no model for [the children] to go from." For
Amber, preparation meant having an example or model rocket for
kids to refer to and "a solution for every problem that might come
up.” The pre-service teachers indicated a strong desire to feel and
be prepared, and identified that this included preparing materials,
physical models for students to imitate, and anticipating every
problem that might come up. Yet they also recognized that they
had limited time and were not able to do all they hoped.
5.1.2 Providing Structure
All group members reported that they thought part of their job as
facilitators was to provide structure. They did so by providing
instructions, by modeling thinking, asking guiding questions, and
by parallel play. One way they provided structure in the students’
design process was by (verbally) providing a framework of steps
that visitors could use when building rockets. Amber described
how she tried to organize a way for students to think about
building a rocket: “We just said, "This is what we have. Choose
your body first." I guess we did a give a little bit of direction in
that. We didn't just say, “Go,” we said, "Choose your body first.
Choose your balloon color and how you want to tape it onto the
body, and then choose a string." There was some direction, but
there was no model for them to look at to go off of.”
They also provided structure in interactions with kids when things
did not go right. For example, when a student’s rocket design did
not go as planned, Mary enthusiastically said something like,
“Whoa! Look at it spin! Why do you think it just sat there and
spun?!” She made an observation and asked the student to explain
why it might have happened. Mary described that she did so to
model how one can look at failure, and further question and refine
their design. In another example, Ruth, when working with a
young boy who was building a balloon rocket, asked the boy, “Do
you think the size of the balloon matters, for how fast it will go?”
When he agreed, she expanded “More air… it will go faster?”
Again, the boy nodded. Ruth described asking this questions to
prompt the student to consider that the air inside the balloon was
propelling the rocket; the more air in the balloon, the further or
faster the rocket might travel. Her goal was to focus his attention
on the science concepts she hoped he was learning. Similarly,
Sally was working with a boy who had just flown his first rocket
and asked him questions such as: “What do you think affects how
well a rocket flies? Do you think weight matters? How about the
size of the balloon?” In the interview, she explained that by
asking him these questions she was trying to help structure his
thinking by getting him to think, “'What can I change to make this
better, to get this closer to my goal the next time'"? In contrast to
Ruth’s questions that focused students attention on specific
science ideas, Sally’s and Mary’s questions were more open
ended and allowed the child to focus attention on considering
what factors of the rocket could be changed and guided the
children to testing their ideas.
Finally, they demonstrated the design process for children at the
event. Ruth, for example, described that she constructed her own
rocket with wings, hoping to inspire children to experiment with
wings on their rockets, “I was just interested to see because I was
wondering if the kids would put wings on it? So then I put wings
on it to see what would happen.” Ruth's actions provided structure
by engaging in parallel play to try and spark thinking and interest.
5.1.3 Assessing Learning
Assessment came in many forms, among the pre-service teachers
in the balloon rockets group. As a theme, assessment was defined
as moments where a pre-service teacher attempted to understand
how or what a child was thinking. The guiding questions in the
above section were a form of assessment. Here we discus other
ways the pre-service teachers engaged in assessment.
Children’s actions often indicated their ideas about science. Ruth,
for example, described observing a child putting a rocket on the
string for the first time: “We wanted to see just a little quick
assessment, like, do the kids understand how their rockets are
working, do they get that the reason the rocket is moving that way
is because the air is blowingout of the opposite end?” Ruth felt
that she could gauge the child’s understanding of cause and effect
by the direction he put the rocket on the string; for Ruth, his
actions were evidence of understanding. The pre-service teachers
also attempted to assess the level of students’ frustration. Mary
explained that she tried to gauge individual student emotional
states as a way to inform how much, or how little, scaffolding that
she should provide. Her strategy for this was to repeat back what
students said, as illustrated below.
STUDENT: “It [my rocket] didn’t work.”
Mary: “It didn’t work?”
STUDENT: “I can’t fix it.”
Mary: “You can’t fix it?”
STUDENT: “Well, I need to tape it.”
Mary: “Okay, so you just need to tape it.”
When looking at the video footage of this excerpt, Mary explained
that she remembered assessing that he did not seem frustrated but
more contemplative and since he was thinking about how to
modify his design, the best facilitation move for her was to step
out of the way and let him go.
5.1.4 Influence of Parents
Unlike classroom instruction, the School Maker Faire was a
family event. This meant that the pre-service teachers interacted
with children’s parents or interacted with children while being
observed by parents. Despite not anticipating parents to have a
significant impact on how the pre-service teachers facilitated the
activities, this emerged as a significant theme worth exploring.
The theme, influence of parents, refers to any moments during the
interviews where a pre-service teacher mentioned a way in which
a parent's presence influenced their thinking or actions.
Amber described, "It matters what parents think of their kids’
teachers. I wouldn't want them to view us as not having prepared
for an event that we're putting on for kids. I think that would look
very unprofessional." This is consistent with other comments.
Recall that Amber wanted to have a model for kids and a
contingency plan for every situation that might arise. This
revealed that, for Amber, teachers should appear prepared to
parents. Similarly, Ruth explained that when it came to having
parents around, "It was a lot different because it was a lot more
pressurewell what does the parent want me to say, what is he
expecting right now- is he expecting me to like give a little short
engineering lesson, you know?” Ruth's concerns about how she
was viewed by parents related to her perception that she was
expected to be a content expert.
In this study, we saw examples of the pre-service teachers framing
their role as facilitators of exploration, and encouraging design
thinking strategies as well as actions and interactions that were
influenced by their more traditional preconceptions that teachers
should provide step-by-step instructions and be content experts.
This movement back and forth between these two very different
roles appeared to create tensions at times. Below we discuss the
trends identified in the findings section.
We noted that the pre-service teachers struggled to feel prepared
in this environmentboth in terms of material preparation and
cognitive preparation for engaging children in the activity. The
first aspect of preparation is simpler to address. As maker
education researchers and developers, we can design resources
and activities that do not require complicated preparation of
materials. Teachers’ time is limited and making it easier for them
to set up spaces and activities will allow them to focus on working
with children. The second aspect is more complicated. Engaging
children in activities where they are free to make decisions means
that children may explore questions, designs, and directions
unanticipated by the teachers. Indeed, student agency is a crucial
hallmark of maker education. Yet this also means, that it is
impossible for teachers to be prepared for all possible ideas that
children might articulate if they expect that being prepared means
to always know what will happen and the answers to all possible
questions. Re-conceptualizing being prepared as knowing how to
guide students’ explorations by providing materials, asking
questions with students, and engaging in the children’s curiosity
along with them can ease this tension.
The pre-service teachers also strove to provide structure. For
some, this meant step-by-step instructions and physical models of
a final product for the students to copy. For others, it meant asking
questions to structure students’ thinking towards design and
redesign based on specific variables (e.g., mass of the rocket). It is
not surprising that they were compelled to provide structure. In
fact, structure and design constraints benefit maker activities.
Explicit consideration of what constitutes productive “structure”
in a maker activity and how this compares with more traditional
classroom structures may help teachers navigate this tension.
A third area was assessment, which was required by the course.
This is an area that challenges researchers and educators of all
levels: how do we assess learning in maker activities? The
teachers in this study did so by observing children’s interactions,
talking about their reasoning for redesign, and probing student
thinking. In this case, the pre-service teachers point to productive
methods of assessing that we can build on in future work.
Many new teachers are understandably insecure in their role as
teachers. Teacher educators should recognize that their students
(pre-service teachers) are figuring out who they are and who they
will be in the classroom, and should provide explicit instructional
activities to help new teachers understand how their role as
classroom teachers might change as they adopt maker education
activities. Our work is a beginning step in identifying the tensions
and concerns of pre-service teachers as they attempt to facilitate
maker education activities, even in a scaffolded and supportive
environment. Identifying these concerns will help inform the
design of better learning contexts for pre-service teachers that
support their abilities to facilitate productive and powerful maker
education in their classrooms.
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... Such makification projects have seen widespread success in K-12 education, such as the STEM Lab challenges implemented by FUSE Studio in over 200 schools (Stevens et al., 2018) and the Exploring Computer Science curriculum which has been implemented in 34 states across the USA and includes units on e-textiles, robotics and artificial intelligence (Kafai et al., 2019). While these programs highlight the potential and promise of making pedagogy in formal education, there is a need for additional research into how educators learn to translate elements of making into their curricula and pedagogical strategies, given the variety of challenges that educators who are new to making can encounter (Marshall and Harron, 2018;Jones et al., 2017;O'Brien et al., 2016). ...
... Jones et al. (2017) claimed that these workshops led to favorable attitudes toward implementing maker activities in their future classrooms, yet these teachers also perceived a set of barriers, including: access to resources, insufficient skills to use tools, insufficient strategies of integration, and working with reluctant peers and administrators. O'Brien et al. (2016) identified further obstacles that stand between educators and the implementation of making activities, including being prepared (e.g. preparing materials and physical models for students to imitate), assessing learning, and understanding ways to engage with and work alongside parents. ...
... To continue supporting educators as they blend making with formal education, there is a need for more research on pedagogy around maker-centered learning in universities and teacher education programs (Marshall and Harron, 2018;Jones et al., 2017). Much of the research around maker pedagogy has focused on one-time interventions, professional development workshops, or course assignments (Cohen, 2017;Jones et al., 2017;O'Brien et al., 2016). With the growing interest of teachers in incorporating making into the classroom (Bevan, 2017), there is a need to look for approaches that promote and support the authentic implementation of making in formal classrooms (Papavlasopoulou et al., 2017). ...
Purpose This study aims to understand how graduate students in a maker education course discuss beliefs about making and implement these beliefs as pedagogy in their curricular designs. Design/methodology/approach Interview transcripts from seven students were analyzed thematically for conceptions of making and learning. Lesson plans were also coded for elements of making, and the authors compared students’ articulated ideas about making with the practical implementation of making in their designs. Findings Students reflected on the nature of making and the possible benefits and tensions surrounding the use of making for learning. Multiple students discussed benefits for their future learning and careers. Comparisons between interview and lesson plans highlight both successful alignments and key gaps in the application of making principles, including struggles that students encountered when translating their beliefs about making into real-world pedagogy. Research limitations/implications Given the limited sample size, future research should explore the extent to which educators in other contexts encounter similar or different obstacles in their development of maker-focused pedagogies. Practical implications Findings can be used to inform future maker education courses to better support students in successfully translating core principles of making from general beliefs into effective and practical pedagogical strategies. Originality/value Despite widespread interest in combining making with educational spaces, much remains to be understood about the strategies that educators use to integrate elements of making into their pedagogy. This study contributes discussions of the benefits and tensions that maker educators may encounter when blending tenets of making with the needs of formal education.
... There was a general sense that activities needed to be structured, planned, and controlled. The interview comments support observations by O'Brien et al. (2016) regarding preparation and structure. Our results also suggest some of our participants were more comfortable with authoritative and orchestration teaching strategies rather than unleashing strategies (Kajamaa et al., 2019). ...
... Echoing the findings of Phan and Locke (2015) regarding effective forms of support (i.e., collegiality, sharing, and institutional support), we found that funding and provision of work time are concrete forms of support enabling the acquisition of material and resourcesalong with time for experimenting with them. O'Brien et al. (2016) noted in their research that some participants were "cautious about integrating these types of activities in their future classrooms due to concerns around peer and administrator support as well as lack of resources" (p. 4). ...
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This qualitative research project explored the key characteristics, attitudes, and experiences of makerspace facilitators in Saskatchewan. The aim was to gather knowledge and wisdom from early adopters of makerspace from a variety of contexts ranging from tinkerspaces to increasingly popular school-based spaces in order to inform early and career-educators of the skills and attitudes conducive to creating and leading dynamic activity spaces. The questions for the semi-structured interviews were based on Bandura’s (1977; 1997) self-efficacy expectations: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. The findings align with those of other studies in that they point towards key areas of experience: the value of productive failure, relinquishing control, and modes of support. We conclude that there is a need to help preservice and early career educators to become prepared and confident makerspace facilitators. To this end, we offer four suggestions for new makerspace facilitators: aim towards unleashing, allow others to be the experts and leaders, celebrate success and failure, and openly seek and offer support. Keywords: makerspace, self-efficacy, motivation, early career educators, productive failure
... Because it takes substantive training and experience for teachers to provide meaningful feedback on-the-fly, having formally planned embedded assessments can help teachers to engage learners in data-driven facilitation rather than providing less systematic improvised help, especially in open-ended learning experiences. Also, the formally planned nature of embedded assessment enables teachers to prepare for and practice noticing "assessment moments" where they examine what the learner is thinking or trying and intervene as needed (O'Brien et al., 2016). There are a few common features of embedded assessment that can be identified across multiple types of learning environments. ...
Purpose As maker-centered learning grows rapidly in school environments, there is an urgent need for new forms of assessment. The purpose of this paper is to report on the development and implementation of tools to support embedded assessment of maker competencies within school-based maker programs and describes alternative assessment approaches to rubrics and portfolios. Design/methodology/approach This study used a design-based research (DBR) method, with researchers collaborating with US middle school teachers to iteratively design a set of tools that support implementation of embedded assessment. Based on teacher and student interviews, classroom observations, journal notes and post-implementation interviews, the authors report on the final phase of DBR, highlighting how teachers can implement embedded assessment in maker classrooms as well as the challenges that teachers face with assessment. Findings This study showed that embedded assessment can be implemented in a variety of ways, and that flexible and adaptable assessment tools can play a crucial role in supporting teachers in this process. Additionally, though teachers expressed a strong desire for student involvement in the assessment process, we observed minimal student agency during implementation. Further study is needed to investigate how establishing classroom culture and norms around assessment may enable students to fully participate in assessment processes. Originality/value Due to the dynamic and collaborative nature of maker-centered learning, teachers may find it difficult to provide on-the-fly feedback. By employing an embedded assessment approach, this study explored a new form of assessment that is flexible and adaptable, allowing teachers to formally plan ahead while also adjusting in the moment.
... While studies concerning maker education in teacher preparation programs are still emerging, previous research has mainly focused on two areas: (1) exploring the learning opportunities and infrastructure of maker education offered in teacher education programs (Cohen, 2017;Hsu et al., 2017;Cohen et al., 2017); and (2) examining how courses, credential, and certificate programs that focus on maker education affect preservice teachers' perspectives regarding making activities, principles, and pedagogies O'Brien et al., 2016;Rodriguez et al., 2018). For example, Cohen (2017) investigated the extent to which US teacher education programs integrate maker education. ...
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Despite the growth of the Maker Movement, few studies have examined what learning opportunities in teacher education programs facilitate preservice teachers’ understanding of inclusive making for students from diverse backgrounds. This study explored how preservice teachers used their funds of knowledge for making projects in a STEM education course and how the use of these funds of knowledge influenced their perspectives on maker education. Guided by ethnographic research principles, we analyzed qualitative data collected from 15 preservice teachers. The findings show that preservice teachers used their diverse funds of knowledge in ways that: (a) transformed making practices into personally relevant learning activities, (b) positioned themselves as experts, (c) facilitated mutual learning, and (d) provided a significant resource for creative ideas in advancing making projects.
Makerspace tools and technologies are becoming increasingly popular in K-12 educational settings. While makerspace education has the potential to democratize educational spaces, the integration of these new technologies into the classroom is not trivial. In this paper, we analyze a university-based makerspace apprenticeship program for pre-service teachers to learn makerspace tools and technologies for use in their future classrooms. We demonstrate how apprenticeship in this community of practice led to increased confidence in maker tools and technologies and a mindset toward learning in makerspaces as playful, collaborative, and iterative. We found that pre-service teachers require greater opportunities to see students engaged in making in elementary classrooms. We end with recommendations for supporting pre-service teachers to adopt making for their future classrooms.
There is a growing trend of learning through making in P-16 education in both formal and informal learning environments. In the informal learning environments, who provides support and mentorship for learning through making? In this chapter, the authors report on a maker mentor pilot project using a self-study methodology. This initiative was designed to develop knowledge and skills using a mentoring approach to support learning through making with pre-service and in-service teachers, and to model reflective practice. Using a reflective process, they share insights into the work of maker mentors, what worked well, as well as recommendations to enhance this mentoring initiative. They conclude with three implications for practice in support of the role of maker mentors.
Maker pedagogies offer numerous potential benefits for student learning; however, we currently lack an understanding of the ways in which educators integrate these pedagogies into regular practice. This qualitative study examines the professional learning and trajectory of two educators involved in makerspace initiatives at their respective schools in lower-income communities. Through thematic analysis of interviews, photos, videos, and field notes, we identified several overlapping characteristics supporting teachers’ transition into maker educators, including identification with maker values, proficiency with interdisciplinary program planning, and access to a multidimensional maker culture. Recognizing these intersecting characteristics can enable schools to provide essential support systems for prospective maker educators.
Conference Paper
Making has with its mindset and hands-on agenda found ways into all levels of education. From primary school to higher education, in after-school curricula and public places of learning, making has made a considerable impact. In early childhood education, teachers and their professional development are however less in focus. We present a municipality-driven project of training nine preschool teachers with a maker mindset. Our data builds on teachers’ experience and practice, shared in two workshops and 16 blog posts. The pedagogues’ reflections of their own and learners’ actions make way for how ‘making’ impacts them as educators. We use Resnick’s four P’s: Projects, Peers, Passion, Play and contribute Places and Presentation as additional elements of creative learning. We show that developing a maker mindset entails openness, curiosity, co-creation, responsiveness and the willingness to include technology and materials into professional practice, which is key towards becoming a maker pedagogue.
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The article highlights and problematizes some challenges that are faced in carrying out design-based research. It states that the emerging field of learning sciences is one that is interdisciplinary, drawing on multiple theoretical perspectives and research paradigms so as to build understandings of the nature and conditions of learning, cognition and development. A fundamental assumption of many learning scientists is that cognition is not a thing located within the individual thinker but is a process that is distributed across the knower, the environment in which knowing occurs and the activity in which the learner participates. In other words, learning, cognition, knowing and context are irreducibly co-constituted and cannot be treated as isolated entities or processes.
Schools do not define education, and they are not the only institutions in which learning takes place. After-school programs, music lessons, Scouts, summer camps, on-the-job training, and home activities all offer out-of-school educational experiences. In Learning at Not-School, Julian Sefton-Green explores studies and scholarly research on out-of-school learning, investigating just what it is that is distinctive about the quality of learning in these “not-school” settings. Sefton-Green focuses on those organizations and institutions that have developed parallel to public schooling and have emerged as complements, supplements, or attempts to remediate the alleged failures of schools. He reviews salient principles, landmark studies, and theoretical approaches to learning in not-school environments, reporting on the latest scholarship in the field. He examines studies of creative media production and considers ideas of “learning-to learn”-that relate to analyses of language and technology. And he considers other forms of in-formal learning--in the home and in leisure activities--in terms of not-school experiences. Where possible, he compares the findings of US-based studies with those of non-US-based studies, highlighting core conceptual issues and identifying what we often take for granted. Many not-school organizations and institutions set out to be different from schools, embodying different conceptions of community and educational values. Sefton-Green’s careful consideration of these learning environments in pedagogical terms offers a crucial way to understand how they work.
Next Generation Science Standards identifies the science all K-12 students should know. These new standards are based on the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve have partnered to create standards through a collaborative state-led process. The standards are rich in content and practice and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The print version of Next Generation Science Standards complements the website and: Provides an authoritative offline reference to the standards when creating lesson plans. Arranged by grade level and by core discipline, making information quick and easy to find. Printed in full color with a lay-flat spiral binding. Allows for bookmarking, highlighting, and annotating.
Adolescents often pursue learning opportunities both in and outside school once they become interested in a topic. In this paper, a learning ecology framework and an associated empirical research agenda are described. This framework highlights the need to better understand how learning outside school relates to learning within schools or other formal organizations, and how learning in school can lead to learning activities outside school. Three portraits of adolescent learners are shared to illustrate different pathways to interest development. Five types of self-initiated learning processes are identified across these case portraits. These include the seeking out of text-based informational sources, the creation of new interactive activity contexts such as projects, the pursuit of structured learning opportunities such as courses, the exploration of media, and the development of mentoring or knowledge-sharing relationships. Implications for theories of human development and ideas for research are discussed. Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel
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