Agency, Voice, and the “Maker Movement”

“The educational makerspace is based on student ownership of their learning.” @LFlemingEDU


Let’s start this week off first by making. And let’s be inspired by young people and their creations — check out YR Media (formerly Youth Radio) from Oakland California.

As part of their Interactive track, YR Media provides this DIY Toolkit: How to Come Up with your Own Mobile App. The example here is about making public art more visible.

Then let’s try this fun experiment — What if we could use our devices and design a mobile App that allowed you to create more of these kinds of connections for the youth we work with … What would it do? … How is it awesome?!

(After reviewing the toolkit, you can download Mobile Design 101 to get started.)

With our shared ED677 goal too, I challenge you to really think about how your app would be used, by whom, and for what. How can it support the creation of more equitable connected learning opportunities for all learners?

Do some imagining and playing this week with this idea and share on your blog — you can be as practical or fantastical as you like. Share your App ideas and tell us about it while also reflecting on the implications for equity in connected learning and teaching. To challenge you further, don’t just tell us about it but trying sketching it out for us; you can do this using a presentation tool like powerpoint, something like Scratch, or just plain paper and pen and stickies that you photo or videotape. Think of what you are making as a prototype for your app and use that prototype to get feedback from others in the process.

After making, take it another step and add some reflection about your making and making process. How did you go about it? What did you learn? Where did you get stuck? How did you solve problems? Where did a focus on equity fit into the mix? What are the implications for learning and being connected?


Let’s start by hearing from the youth themselves at YR Media. Pick out something here to focus on. What are they saying? How are they saying it? What are they making in order to say it?

Next let’s unpack this idea of the “Maker Movement.” What do you know about it already? If you aren’t sure, what are your impressions?

You can find a good overview of this movement in this overview with Erica Halverson and Kimberly Sheridan: The Maker Movement in Education. Also read Moving Beyond the 4 Myths of Maker Education by Jakki Spicer of Maker Ed from 2018.

Next I encourage you to watch Leah Buechley, mentioned in the Halverson and Sheridan article. Here she is considering all learners and in doing so brings a more critical eye to the popularized and branded “Maker” movement and talks through its key promises and equity challenges: Thinking about Making. What stands out to you here as you think about equity in your own context?

Eyeo 2014 – Leah Buechley from Eyeo Festival on Vimeo.

Let’s now tap into a bit of the history of making and learning: start with Seymour Papert — a mathematician, scientist and educator from MIT — who is known as the father of “constructionism.” Papert and Harel’s introduction Situating Constructionism from the 1991 book Constructionism gives a good overview. Here is a group of educators talking about these same ideas:

Finally, check out these stories about making across the grade levels:

What other such stories can you find?


Find 5/6/7 things — from each others blogs, the readings, and other work you are doing — that you think would support you or others in your life to make a bit more.


Update as of February 12th: Due to family obligations and sickness, tonight’s gathering with special guest Kathy Walsh will be rescheduled. Thank you for understanding.

In learning and making solidarity,


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