A surge of voices from government, industry, and education have argued that, in order to equip the next generation for life and work in the decades ahead, it is vital to support maker-centered learning in various educational environments. Maker-Centered Learning provides insight into what that means, and offers tools and knowledge that can be applied anywhere that learning takes place.
In an old mayonnaise factory that has been repurposed as a tinkering school in San Francisco, California, a group of children measure, saw, and screw together wood planks and other building materials to make a functional ice rink that they fully expect to play hockey on within a matter of days. Meanwhile, across the country, unschooled and homeschooled students working in a storefront outside of Boston mash together an assortment of spare electronic parts to make tiny robots that scamper across the floor. While families in Detroit gather in a church basement after Sunday service to make snow globes out of household materials and learn the basics of bicycle maintenance, families in New Mexico visit rural libraries to learn how to connect fruits and vegetables to a device called a Makey-Makey. At the same time, visitors to a children's museum in Pittsburgh are learning the basics of electric circuitry alongside their siblings and parents. Back in California, first-generation public high school students work with their teacher to redesign their school's outdoor spaces, just as students at a private school around the corner research, design, and construct new furniture for themselves and their community. Across these disparate contexts, each of these learning environments provides a glimpse into an educational transformation that is sweeping across the United States-and around the globe.
The first Maker Faire, held in San Mateo, California, in 2006, marked a resurgence of interest in making things-as opposed to merely consuming them-while at the same time celebrating the gizmos and gadgetry of contemporary life. Since that event, small and large-scale maker events have drawn crowds and inspired makers throughout the United States and around the world ( Figure I.1 ). From basement workshops to massive cooperative makerspaces, interest in making has since been growing. Noting the significance of this trend, in 2014 the White House hosted its first ever Maker Faire and established June 18 as a National Day of Making. 1 In his address to the makers assembled for this historic event, President Barack Obama remarked:
FIGURE I.1: Young visitors to the 2014 World Maker Faire engage with an interactive LED exhibit at the New York Hall of Science.
This is a country that imagined a railroad connecting a continent, imagined electricity powering our cities and towns, imagined skyscrapers reaching into the heavens, and an Internet that brings us closer together. So we imagined these things, then we did them. And that's in our DNA. That's who we are. We're not done yet. And I hope every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country. 2
Beyond the White House, scores of advocacy statements emphasizing the importance of making have spread throughout the media and the popular press. 3 As author and inventor Chris Anderson noted in his book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution , the next wave of manufacturing and entrepreneurship will be borne of the talents and shared ideas developed by makers. 4 A surge of voices from government, industry, and education further argued that to equip our young people for this next wave of entrepreneurship and innovation, it is important to support maker-centered learning in various educational environments. Whether in schools, after-school settings, libraries, or museums, an interest in providing opportunities and spaces for making has spread everywhere. This renewed interest in making has come to be known as the maker movement -a rising interest in sharing and learning from others while working with one's hands within interdisciplinary environments that combine a variety of tools and technologies.
Intrigued by the relationship between maker experiences, arts, and education, the Bay Area-based