The Maker Movement

There has been a lot of talk about the Maker Movement in education. This approach is about the learner being a producer rather than a consumer. The Maker Movement allows students to be in control of their learning, as the end product is meaningful and has a purpose. The idea of the Maker Movement is that students learn by constructing meaningful things.

I think there are many advantages for students if teachers embrace this movement and allow students to produce and create items that are both meaningful to them and have a purpose. Students gain experience as problem solvers and get to engage with a variety of technology and textiles. As educators we are already aware that students learn by doing and the Maker Movement gives students the opportunity to do just that. It is a student-centered approach that can engage learners of all ages.

The possibilities of what can be made by students taking part in the Maker Movement is limitless. The Maker Movement sees tools and technology as essential elements for solving unsolvable problems. To makers, a 3D printer is not for learning to make 3D objects. Instead it is the raw material for solving problems, History classes can print artifacts for closer examination or Biology students can study cross-sections of hearts and other organs. The Maker philosophy prepares students to solve problems we as teachers never anticipated, with technology we can’t yet imagine.

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/3d-printer-printing-technology-791205/

The Maker Movement and specifically 3D printing is an emerging technology that can be applied to a range of subjects within the curriculum including; English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science and Design and Technology. Classrooms that celebrate the process of design and making, which usually includes overcoming challenges, produce students who believe they can solve any problem, a valid 21st century learning skill.

There is certain knowledge and skills students learn that is important in the Maker Movement. Most significant is that students learn by making. It allows students to take ownership of their learning. Students become problem solvers and overcome challenges that can be faced when designing and making. There is also a huge online addition to this movement that allows students to share their ideas, codes and designs globally. Makers can share their expertise with a worldwide audience, thus allowing collaboration, sharing and even the extension of ideas. Even though the movement has global implications the making still happens at a local level meaning all students are able to participate even if they don’t have access to the internet.

There are many different ways the Maker Movement can become part of the classroom as the movement provides numerous opportunities for design, which can be integrated across the curriculum. There is affordable materials and technology available for schools and educators that makes learning by doing a realistic approach. There are many reasons why I believe the Maker Movement should be implemented in schools. I believe it will help to prepare students for future careers as well as giving them the knowledge and skills they need to move forward in the 21st century.

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