Event Details

What is maker-centered learning? How can educators of all grade levels and subject areas use this powerful approach to motivate students and engage them in the kind of deep and sustained learning that develops student agency and a sensitivity to design? In this mini course, explore 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.

Course Designer & Instructor

Course Designer & Instructor: Edward P. Clapp is a principal investigator at Project Zero interested in exploring creativity and innovation, design and maker-centered learning, contemporary approaches to arts teaching and learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. Edward and his colleagues explore these issues with their teacher partners through a variety of different collaborative inquiries: Creating Communities of Innovation (Dubai, United Arab Emirates); Creando Communidades de Indigación (Lima, Peru); Agency by Design: Early Childhood in the Making (Hong Kong), and; Agency by Design: Making Across the Curriculum (Washington, DC). In addition to his work as a researcher, Edward is also a Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Edward’s most recent books include Participatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom (Routledge, 2016) and Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds (with Jessica Ross, Jennifer Oxman Ryan, and Shari Tishman, Jossey-Bass, 2016). @edwardpclapp

What past participants are saying:

“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.”


“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.”


Online Course Schedule

Orientation and course site introduction for the mini courses is available no later than two days prior to the course launch.

  • All participants will receive email invitations to the course site three days prior to the course start. The required review of the course policies assignment is available during the “Getting Ready” self-guided orientation to the site.
  • Remember, if you joined the course as an individual and not as a member of an already formed team, you will be placed on a virtual team and will be sent an email introducing you to your virtual team members no later than 4 days prior to the course launch.
  • We strongly recommend all teams schedule their weekly, required 60- 90 minute team meetings prior to the start of the course. Usually scheduling team meetings toward the end of each week is most helpful so all members have time to complete assignments in advance of the meeting.

An Introduction to Maker-Centered Learning

Sessions open on Mondays and close on Sundays, but you do not have to work on Mondays; within each session, you work on your own time.
  • Week 1: Opens Monday, October 23
  • Week 2: Opens Monday, October 30
  • Week 3: Opens Monday, November 6
  • Week 4: Opens Monday, November 13
  • Course Closes: Sunday, November 19

Who Should Participate

  • Teachers, Teacher Leaders, and School Administrators and Leaders
  • Museum Educators and educators working in informal learning environments
  • Facilitators of Pre-K to Adult Learning

Required Course Textbook

The following textbook is required for participants in this course, and is not included in the course tuition. The textbook is available for purchase on Amazon or through the publisher Jossey-Bass — in both paper and digital format.

  • Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds. Edward P. Clapp, Jessica Ross, Jennifer Oxman Ryan, & Shari Tishman. (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2016)

Tuition, Discounts, and Scholarships


  • For In-Depth Courses (6 sessions, 13 weeks), tuition is $615 per person registering as a member of a team, and $695 per person registering as an individual who will be placed (by Project Zero) on a virtual team.
  • For Mini Courses (4 sessions, 4 weeks), tuition is $295 per person registering as a member of a team, and $375 per person registering as an individual who will be placed (by Project Zero) on a virtual team.


Scholarships are available for educators from qualifying organizations. For online courses (in-depth and mini courses) scholarships will cover approximately 70% of the tuition. Eligibility guidelines and the application link are below. Scholarship applications must be submitted and accepted prior to registration for the course. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please do NOT register for the online course until you have completed the scholarship application and have been approved for scholarship. Those who register for the online course prior to applying for a scholarship will become ineligible for the scholarship. Please note: scholarships are limited and are assessed and awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

Eligibility guidelines: With generous support from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation and many individual donations honoring Project Zero’s 50th anniversary in 2017, Project Zero is able to offer a limited number of professional learning scholarships to support a range of schools, districts, and organizations as well as a diverse group of educators. These scholarships aim to support teams of educators and individual educators working in under-resourced contexts and/or with historically marginalized students.

  • In the United States, public school educators working in schools with a free and reduced lunch rate of 25% or more OR educators working primarily with students who attend these schools.
  • Outside of the United States, educators whose schools or organizations serve 25% or more students whose families meet the country-defined standard for low-income.

To apply for a scholarship use the Scholarship Application link at the top of this page.


Confirmation and Payment

Registration confirmations are sent automatically from the registration software. Please keep these emails as they include your receipt of payment for documentation as well as your confirmation number should you need to access your registration in the future.

Payments are accepted via credit card or invoice for payment by check or wire transfer. Confirmation of registration does not confirm full payment if participants selected to pay other than by a credit card. All required paperwork and payments must be completed (or evidence provided of payments in process) by the registration deadline. For participants whose required paperwork and/or payments are not finalized at the registration deadline, they will be removed from the course roster and placed on a wait list.

Deadline for Registration

For An Introduction to Maker-Centered Learning starting Monday, October 23, 2023, the deadline for registration is Monday, October 15, 2023 at 11:59 pm Boston time.

Please note: Space is limited. The courses may fill prior to the registration deadline.

Refund Request and Participant Substitution Deadlines

Requests for refunds and participant substitutions for the An Introduction to Maker-Centered Learning course starting October 23, 2022 must be submitted by Monday, October 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm Boston time.

To request a refund, submit a participant substitution, or to ask questions, please email pzlearn@gse.harvard.edu.