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

Co-Instructor: Julie Rains

Passionate about fostering positive interactions and relationships, Julie is committed to collaborating with students and teachers from around the world. It is a true joy for her to experiment, investigate, and grapple with ideas to encourage reflection from a variety of viewpoints. In addition to coaching the PMTV course and co-instructing the TLMCC online course, Julie facilitates professional learning at the district, county and state level. She  has facilitated sessions at multiple Project Zero Perspectives Conferences, served as a fellow, study group leader, and mini course instructor for Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute, and is proud to share that her students were featured in Dr. Ron Ritchhart’s book, Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools (Wiley, 2015).

An avid reader, Julie is committed to life-long learning, and currently, a doctoral candidate at University of Michigan. Prior to that, she earned her Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University and attended Michigan State University, where she attained her B.S. and M.A. in the areas of Language Arts, Learning Disabilities, and Emotional Impairment. Julie is entering her thirteenth year as a teacher for Rochester Community Schools and dedicated to fostering meaningful learning opportunities, especially for students with disabilities. She is currently interested in John Spencer's work on creating "Vintage Innovations" to leverage digital technologies in new ways.

Co-Instructor: Lisa Yokana

An educator for over fifteen years, Lisa is the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) coordinator at Scarsdale High School, where she has designed and teaches a STEAM course sequence for Scarsdale’s Design Lab, opened in 2018. Lisa works with teachers across the disciplines to integrate design thinking and making into their curricula. Lisa has received multiple grants from Scarsdale Schools’ Center for Innovation to research innovation education programs and integrate maker projects across levels. Lisa was one of thirty maker-teachers across the country to participate in a learning community by Project Zero's Agency by Design research project. She leads innovation education, design thinking, and maker workshops, and presents at conferences, encouraging educators to shift their practices. Lisa earned her B.A. in studio art and French literature from Williams College and her master's degree in art history from Columbia University. Lisa also has a degree in building and district level administration from Stony Brook University.

Course Designer: 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 28
  • Week 2: Opens Monday, November 4
  • Week 3: Opens Monday, November 1
  • Week 4: Opens Monday, November 18
  • Course Closes: Sunday, November 24

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 Mini Courses (4 sessions, 4 weeks), tuition is $315 per person registering as a member of a team, and $395 per person registering as an individual who will be placed (by Project Zero) on a virtual team.


PZ professional learning scholarships cover 50-70% of a course’s tuition for eligible educators. Scholarship applications must be submitted and accepted prior to registration; if you would like to apply for a scholarship, please do NOT register for the online course until you have been approved for a scholarship. Please note: Scholarships are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

To review scholarship criteria and apply for a scholarship, please use the In-Depth Course Scholarship Application link.


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 Maker-Centered Learning starting Monday, October 28, 2024, the deadline for registration is October 20, 2024 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 Maker-Centered Learning course starting October 28, 2024 must be submitted by October 15, 2024 at 11:59 pm Boston time.

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