Launching a New Phase of Research for Agency by Design: Exploring Documentation and Assessment Strategies for the Maker-Centered Classroom

Project Zero’s Agency by Design team is developing documentation and assessment tools for maker-centered learning and "maker empowerment", which they see as the key to ensuring that the maker movement secures a long-term place in education and pedagogy. From 2012 to 2015, the Agency by Design research team explored the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning. As a result of this multi-year study, the AbD team—supported by our teacher partners in Oakland, CA and across the United States—developed a framework for maker-centered learning accompanied by a host of pictures of practice, thinking routines, and other educator resources. In addition to the core research findings associated with this first phase of work, we have also come to understand what important questions still remain to be addressed in this rich opportunity space. Specifically, we now see developing qualitative assessment strategies as the next frontier of research for maker-centered learning. In fact, we don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that if maker-centered learning is to be more than a passing trend, it is imperative to establish a means to gauge the real benefits of such learning experiences. To address this need, the Agency by Design research team has embarked upon...
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Cultivating Cosmopolitanism in a World of Echo Chambers

Out of Eden, a program of our partner Project Zero, aims to nudge students toward an open-minded, curious, and authentic embrace of difference. At the end of July, Project Zero held its seventh annual Future of Learning institute for educators. This year's theme focused on "nurturing digital and global citizenships." Taking a broad conception of citizenship, the institute explored how educators might support youth to develop the skills and dispositions to engage meaningfully with others in their own communities and in the wider world. Across three days, presenters raised a number of important issues that connect to the aims of Out of Eden Learn and underscore the complexity of our enterprise. In this post, I reflect on these ideas, with particular attention to the concept of "cosmopolitanism." As I'll discuss further below, cosmopolitanism is a valuable but often elusive stance that involves being open to and even embracing cultural difference. We often position the goals of Out of Eden Learn in light of two broad challenges that plague our interconnected lives: 1) the fast pace of our lives and exchanges with others, both online and offline — and thus the importance of slowing down; and 2) despite the potential of...
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The Promises, Practices, and Pedagogies of Maker-Centered Learning: An Updated Preview of the Findings from the Agency by Design Project

Our partner Project Zero previews the insights from its forthcoming book, Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds, the results of their multiyear Agency by Design research initiative. "While the popular narrative in the media suggests that the driving force behind maker-centered learning is an interest in developing young people's proficiency in the STEM subjects, our investigation of the promises, practices, and pedagogies associated with maker-centered learning revealed a much more nuanced story." Interested in finding out more? Read the full article at Agency by Design.


3 Things to Do Before You Sign Up For Another Ed Tech App

  • on Sep 13
  • in The LAMP
  • by Educator Innovator

To help alleviate concerns around privacy with ed tech tools, our partner, The Lamp, outlines three crucial steps for students and educators to follow that minimizes the risks. The growth of education technology (or “ed tech”) tools has led to loads of new learning opportunities for students and educators – as well as for advertisers and marketers eager to target young minds. Researchers from the University of Colorado found that educational apps used in schools in the United States and worldwide are collecting millions of digital data points on a daily basis, mostly from middle and high school students. While they’re conducting research, completing online assignments or collaborating on virtual projects, data are being collected which can be used to sell food, clothes, games and more. And, as researchers Faith Boninger and Alex Molnar outline here, many of the existing privacy laws designed to protect young people fall short. So what’s a mindful adult to do? Banning the use of educational technology tools at home or in school not only denies young people access to valuable learning opportunities, it also fails to take advantage of the chance to strengthen digital and media literacy skills. Here are some steps you can...
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