Saturday, October 11, 2014

Making teachers happy

Some of the happiest and most effective teachers I know are the ones that incorporate the concept of making in their teaching. Personally I see it in arts teachers when they're preparing for a showing or performance, or the chemistry teacher in the lab.

Here at the Project Zero Perspectives conference: Making, Thinking, and Understanding conference in San Francisco this weekend that's organized by Casie, I've started reminiscing about all the learning by making that's been going on in my own classroom and with the adult learners I work with at other times.

At today's conference David Perkins set the tone by noting how, among other things, the maker movement transcends traditional disciplines and prescribed studies. That sentiment was amplified in a session by Jen Ryan who discussed the Agency by Design (AbD) research done with Shari Tishman and Edward P. Clapp, that's identified two core concepts – making empowers learners and that empowerment leads students to recognize that they are fully capable of redesigning their world for the better. At the end of the day, Daniel Wilson noted that much of Project Zero's nearly 50 years of research has shown that learning is active, social, and visible.

Since making is a prominent feature of the conference and in education today, I thought I'd share some of the maker projects of the adult students I worked with this summer in the Michigan State University Master's in Educational cohort in Galway, Ireland. It showed me again how joyful teaching can be when we make things.