Makers believe in making, sharing and learning. They are open to exploration and experimentation. Makers believe in learning through doing. Makers some times use cutting edge tools such as 3D printers, open source hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi etc
Humans have been making tools for more than 2 million years. We are genetically programmed to make things. My grand parents used to make most of the stuff at home. These days we get everything ready made. Now a days we even do not need to visit the shops. We can order stuff online.
Bucking this trend a counter culture has started around the world called ‘Maker Culture‘. People around the world are again starting to make things themselves. Makers around the world believe in making new stuff or tinkering with the existing stuff. Maker culture is quickly spreading around the world. Americans have been at the forefront of maker culture but Asians and Europeans are also catching fast.
Makers believe in making, sharing and learning. They are open to exploration and experimentation. Makers believe in learning through doing. Makers some times use cutting edge tools such as 3D printers, open source hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi etc. Some makers use traditional art and craft tools and perform activities like metal working and wood working. Whatever the tools the main emphasis in maker movement is on self expression through making.
Kids enjoy maker movement a lot. I have personally seen kids enjoying making activities throughly. Maker activities give kids a chance to explore the world themselves. This makes maker education the best form of education. On one hand kids enjoy the making activities and on the other hand they also learn stuff which they find boring to learn from books. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) educators around the world are incorporating maker activities in their curriculum to make education fun for children. Maker education can also help in art education. In fact the acronym STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. All gadgets these days are a combination of art, science and commerce. Thus STEAM education is essential for students of today who are expected by parents and governments to create startups one day.
A lot of pedagogical research has shown that maker education is the best form of education. Work of famous educators and psychologists like Seymour Papert, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky and Howard Gardner shows that kids learn better when given autonomy with support. Education psychology shows that just pure carrot and stick approach does not work effectively with kids. I have personally seen kids enjoying physics and maths at my makerspace.
In today’s ever changing world where curriculum is struggling to catch up with reality, maker education has answers to all the ills that plague the education system. It brings joy to kids and also helps teachers teach in a more personalised and contextual way. Maker education is more flexible and more comprehensive than the traditional book based education.
Even government’s around the world are promoting maker education. Former US president Barack Obama is a great supporter of maker education. In India the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running a program called ‘Atal Innovation Mission’ which aims to bring tinkering labs (makerspaces) to schools all over India. Governments in other parts of the world are also working in this direction.
Thus maker education is the future of education. Every time I see kids learning stuff while making things I feel happy that I am catalysing a revolution in making.