College & Workforce Readiness

Latest Curriculum Craze: Making Stuff

By Anthony Rebora — January 04, 2013 1 min read
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A Huffington Post article says that, in a kind of backlash against the test-driven curricula that have prevailed in many schools over the past decade, there’s a growing interest among educators and parents in giving kids more hands-on, experiential learning projects. One example of the reported movement:

The Maker Education Initiative, created by the founders of Make magazine and the exploding network of Maker Faires, is launching Maker Corps, where hundreds of young adults will be working with schools and community programs to embed hands-on learning projects into their lessons and activities. The organization also hosts a blog that teachers and parents can use to get ideas for how to incorporate 'making' into their classrooms and homes. "Making creates evidence of learning," says Dale Dougherty, the founder and publisher of Make. "Students are taking an idea and substantiating it in a way that could be a sketch or a model or something else. That process gives them a lot of feedback."

Will Richardson, author most recently of the TED book Why School?, believes this is absolutely the way for educators to go:

I've been droning on for some time now that if we are to save schools, our value proposition has to change. We can't be the places kids come to learn stuff that they can learn on their own in a gajillion different places now. We have to become the places where we help kids make interesting, meaningful, useful, beautiful artifacts of their learning that they can share with the real world. That's our value moving forward. That stuff that can't be "Khanified."

One question for you: Do the Common Core State Standards, in your view, provide more opportunities for this kind of learning? Seems like quite possibly, particularly under the imperatives (for example) of teaching research, media, and presentation skills and helping kids use digital technology strategically. But what’s been your experience?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.