Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making A Case For A Makerspace

There was a recent discussion amongst educators on Twitter about measuring creativity. How do we measure creativity was the question although I was more interested in why would we even want to measure creativity. In this age of data and measurement, must everything be measured? If you listen to the current trends in education and teaching you must know that anything that cannot be measured is not worthy of focus. Either creativity is something worth "teaching" and therefore measuring or it is not and we can dismiss it as something that does not have an important place in schools and education.

Reflecting upon some of the conversations and readings for the Learning Creative Learning seminar I am more than ever convinced that we either need to keep creativity out of the current institution of school or we need to turn school upside down and inside out so that creativity and learning could be a part of school. But to force fit does a disservice to all.

So where does a MakerSpace fit into this paradigm then? Should it exist on the margins, in the classroom, after school at a separate location? Does putting the MakerSpace outside of the school curriculum reduce its legitimacy? Do we want our Makerspace's to be co-opted then consumed by "school"?

Leah Buechley commented on how "schools currently focus on subjects and efficiency". Schedules, curriculum and pacing drive our student's days in most public schools. Dale Dougherty said that educators have asked him what the standardized test is for "making". Which misses the point entirely since it is the making itself that provides evidence of learning.

Making IS learning, you don't have to teach a lesson after the fact, the teaching is taking place while students are engaged in the work. Making is also creative, but must we measure that? Making is problem solving and abstract thinking and computational thinking and STEM and STEAM. We have to be careful not to let Making be reduced to a Buzzword and the educator flavor of the day.

Thoughts and reflections and notes from Session 3 of the Learning Creative Learning Seminar MIT.