The Maker Movement: an Impetus for School Innovation
It is an exciting time for teachers and students alike as the maker movement gains momentum within the realm of education. The maker movement is the term coined for the creative revolution whereby inventors, creators, and DIYers have worked to create affordable tools and technology that make it easier than ever to invent, design, craft, and share. The launch of MAKE Magazine in 2005 and the Maker Faire in 2006 were the catalysts for the movement that has become a worldwide phenomenon. It has allowed the marketplace for DIYers to thrive with sites such as Etsy and Shopify. Nine years later, President Obama hosted a maker faire at the White House, and here introduced his Nation of Makers initiative, a call to action to bring the maker movement into schools as a platform for STEAM education.
The maker movement allows teachers to facilitate learning through play, exploration, and testing. Children’s educational experiences become more relevant when they engage in lessons that steer them to create and problem-solve with the use of tools and technology. So often, education is looked at as a means to prepare children for the future, but the increasing accessibility of inexpensive computers, mobile devices, and digital fabrication tools allows children to be inventors, creators, and scientists today. If we, as educators, continue to adhere to the factory-style blueprint for classrooms created during the industrial age, we are robbing children of the opportunity to utilize their innate creative abilities. And without practice, their creativity will diminish over time. Famous TedTalk speaker Sir Ken Robinson accurately stated, “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”
The maker movement is the perfect impetus for school innovation. If we work to re-design the classroom experience to be student-centered, a place where movement, choice, and collaboration are encouraged and failure is not only accepted, but celebrated as a learning opportunity, then creativity will thrive.