What is making?

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 Some rights reserved by Chanah’s Studio

Talking to people like @rangerridely  and @deir75 from the previous post (and over the years) we’ve wondered a lot about what making actually is, and how do we use these ideas in class.

As a digital literacy coach I’ve thought a lot about the idea of creation (and of course you need content to create) but the whole idea where students choose what they make.  Recently, especially during some of our more science based units, it seems like some teachers thing their students have to make something with “maker space parts”.  I’ve been trying to work this out for myself, but I think making something, regardless of the unit could be making anything.

A couple of years ago (or it seems like that anyway) I went to a workshop put on by The Nerdy Teacher. It was really interesting as he was an English teacher using the maker space idea.  He came from a place where he didn’t want twenty odd dioramas showing the same scene from a book. So he opened it up, and got submissions from street lamps to  boats.  He didn’t assess the product (or at least that’s what I remember him saying) he assessed the thinking behind the product and what that thing was important.

So I’ve been wondering if we take that point of view, how can we apply this to our new energy unit.  Do students really need to make something out of “maker space bits”? Could we make an art project about what we think this new energy world might look like? Could we make a movie about the perils of using non-renewable resources? Could we turn vegan and make ourselves new?

Any other ideas?

2 Replies to “What is making?”

  1. They are creating, though. Like you are thinking, the makerspace isn’t really about parts — although it can be — it’s about ways of approaching learning, specifically through creation as a response to a problem. We can’t just buy a 3D printer and some electronics to tinker with and call it a day. I think your example of the art project is a good start, but I would argue that it should be the result of investigating a real problem and then deciding that an art project is a viable solution/part of a viable solution. To me, that’s STEAM/makerspace.

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    1. Yeah that’s what I’m trying to get at, but how do we get everyone on board, is it all those things and if it is, then how do we get everyone thinking that way? And like the Nerdy Teacher shows it’s all about the reflection, and how we can discuss what we learned. I guess how do we get people to see a problem first and then the reflection of the process as the most important bit.

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