The approach to learning that I decided to research this week is known as the Maker Movement. It is an approach to learning that focuses on the natural inclination of students to learn by doing. This is important because it has students using hands-on materials to learn the curriculum.
In my opinion, the article, Why the Maker Movement Is Important to America’s Future, defines the Maker Movement the best. This definition is as follows:
A classroom that fully implements the Maker Movement incorporates many different types of technology including 3-D printers. It is filled with students working on projects and designing answers to questions they ask. A school that is dedicated to the Maker Movement also incorporates every subject into one classroom and every project. This approach can be used for the entire school year and all of the curriculum.
An example of this type of classroom can be found in the article MAKER MOVEMENT REINVENTS EDUCATION. This article shares the story of how some San Diego business leaders and educators started a maker movement high school that grew. This charter high school is known as High Tech High. Since High Tech High was started, the maker movement schools have grown to include three elementary, four middle schools, five high schools, and a graduate school of education. In these schools, most of the learning happens through students making, building, doing, shaping, and inventing things through the use of projects that incorporate every subject instead of separating out the subjects like a traditional school.
I picture the classroom space to be set up like typical science labs with stations set up all around the classroom for students to do their work. I also picture it as having a central group of stations in order to bring the entire class back together to focus on a new topic.
A teacher would choose this approach in order to get students thinking outside of the box. This approach is also used to get students interacting with the material instead of trying to memorize a lot of information.
I believe the advantages of this method include allowing students to do their own research while incorporating every subject into one classroom during every project. The Maker Movement also allows students to an opportunity to move around and burn the extra energy they gain from sitting all day long. Another advantage is the Maker Movement gears students to find ways to create and produce instead of use and consume.
The disadvantages I see to the Maker Movement include cost. Much of the materials needed for a true Maker Movement classroom are pricy. The main materials used are technology based. I also see students finding additional ways to misbehave if classroom management is lacking which could cause added injuries.