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Maker Education Is More Than Fun Activities

July 22, 2016
By Jarrod Whaley

While the Maker Movement is certainly gaining traction with students, adoption of making by educational institutions is moving at a far slower pace, according to this piece by Eric Westervelt at nprED:

Schools "are not thinking about it as an instructional tool," says Chris O'Brien, a former teacher who helps schools create maker and project-based learning spaces in New York City. [...]

Schools that embrace making, he says, need to find a thoughtful place for maker projects in the school's curriculum. Otherwise, he warns, maker spaces could "go by the wayside and become an after-school program."

One of the things we at Sparkfactor.org would like to help educators and institutions come to grips with is the fact that Maker programs are not merely fun activities, like making pot-holders at Summer Camp. These programs are very fun, to be sureā€”but inside the fun is a very tangible manifestation of the sciences. Making robots is probably a way better way to learn math than being given a pile of abstract numbers to work with. Sciences, when demonstrated to children as something real rather than a bunch of abstractions, suddenly become a lot less boring.