Event Details

What is maker-centered learning? How can educators of all grade levels and subject areas use this powerful approach to re-engage their students in the kind of deep and sustained learning that develops student agency and a sensitivity to design? This micro practicum (4-week online course) provides an introduction to a set of maker-centered learning strategies and tools developed by Agency by Design, a multi-year Project Zero research initiative.

In the course, participants will:

  • learn about the concepts of maker empowerment and sensitivity to design and the impact these concepts can have on student learning when teachers begin to incorporate them in their teaching.
  • explore the three “maker capacities” and the learning activities that help students develop these capacities. 
  • experiment with some of the tools and resources in the maker-centered learning toolkit developed by Agency by Design and try out some of those tools in their own context.

By the end of this course, educators will be able to:

  • draw on maker-centered learning concepts to design hands-on, minds-on learning experiences that engage students deeply, spark their curiosity, and sustain their motivation throughout the learning process.
  • offer students the support they need in order to systematically develop their sense of agency and sensitivity to design.
  • use the resources and tools in the maker-centered learning toolkit to revise existing lesson plans or develop new ones that create opportunities for students to become the drivers of their own learning.
This course is open to teachers in pre-K through 12 schools working in any subject area; educators in contexts outside of schools (e.g., museums, maker spaces, industry, studios, after-school programs, camps); and administrators wanting to learn more about how these pedagogies can assist their faculty and program staff to reach learners in deeper and more differentiated ways.

Required Text: The course text is Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their World. Please make sure to have access to the text by the start of Week 1. The text is available in both hard copy and ebook formats. If you don’t already have the book, we suggest trying whatever local bookseller you regularly use, checking availability at a local library, or purchasing online at the publisher’s site (Wiley), on Amazon, or through other online book sellers. If you are based in the United States and would like to support independent booksellers while shopping online, consider purchasing your book via Bookshop.org.

What past participants are saying:

“The Maker-Centered Learning routines provide a natural framework for students to design with empathy—empowered to look closely at the world around them and consider ways to make it better. It has helped my students see that just because something is the way it is today doesn't mean that is what it has to be for the future. It has pushed my students’ thinking to deeper levels. I am excited to share these routines during workshops next year so more of my colleagues can start using this framework.”

February 2018 Participant

“The Agency by Design framework takes students’ learning experiences from theory or abstract thinking to hands-on to actually implement thinking. Students can start to see the power they have when working through these thinking routines and start to feel like systems/situations are malleable. The more the routines are practiced, the better students get to look closely, explore complexity, and find opportunity.”

February 2019 Participant

“The course’s Agency by Design framework can be applied to a vast number of lessons to enhance and extend the learning, meeting the learner where they are at—a meaningful form of differentiation for all levels of learners.”

February 2019 Participant

“I was surprised how much insight many of the course’s thinking routines added to my classroom and my students' understanding of the design of math and its place in the world. Helping students adopt a way of thinking that allows them to look closely, examine complexity, develop empathy, and recognize interconnectedness makes learning more meaningful no matter what the subject.”

February 2018 Participant