How can I create maker experiences for students?


Back in my old life when I was trying to be creative or solve a problem and got stuck I used to do something a little mad – I’d invert the issue. So if I was trying to think of a great product as part of a clients campaign I would think of the absolute worst possible thing or experience that customers would want. Along with being a way to unleash a bit of pent up crazy, what it did do was open up my thinking and support the flow of creative ideas.  By allowing freedom it manages to break down any false constraints that may have appeared without me knowing it.

Coming off the back of my last post I was thinking about ways to move forward fearlessly in my quest for authentic makerness in my classroom – it’s all well and good for me to say things but what do I do to actually make change?  So this has been sitting with me all week as the end of school year wrapped up with celebrations and pack ups but it wasn’t until today as I sat down with an A2 piece of paper to start mapping out next years ideas that I remembered the inverting trick. So here goes:

How can I create the worst maker experience for students?

  • Have a limited list of what students can make
  • Only make things that the teacher likes and in colours/materials the teacher likes
  • Make all students follow the same pre-written step by step instructions
  • Have all students complete each step at the same time to make it easier for the teacher to control
  • Boring projects that students don’t feel passionate about
  • Limited time, each step is on the teacher schedule with no flexibility
  • Silence, students can not talk to each other or interact in any way
  • Students must follow the rules so that they don’t make mistakes or encounter failure
  • The teacher has to be in control at all times so that all students do things right

So ideas come thick and fast, to be honest the goal to be bad is liberating.  If I was in a room with others this type of exercise would allow people to build on each others ideas, create lots of laughs and raise energy levels.  OK so now I need to flip this around – How can I create the best maker experience for students?



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