One of the most exciting questions that the maker movement in education poses is: what happens when students become the creators?
Through a collaborative, hands-on approach to problem solving, students experience learning by doing. As they plan and execute projects, they build skills like creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, communication and much more. These 21st century skills are touted as the most sought after for our future workforce, but the research is still unclear on the best ways to consistently build and measure these skills.
A growing number of educators have embraced the unknown, and the creative process, by guiding students through maker projects to practice and build these skills.
If we can inspire more students to become creators, designers and visionaries, rather than just consumers, we're preparing students to solve the world's biggest challenges, some of which we may not know exist yet. My colleagues at MIND Research Institute are excited to be a part of that process.
Teachers and students from Oak Middle School were recently invited to participate in MIND's pilot program that guides students through the process of designing their own math game. At the end of the program, students hold a product of their own creation, one they can enter into a national student game design challenge, in addition to new and developed skills.
This is a very valuable life skill in a situation that you couldn't create in a textbook. To get kids to really stop and think about their actions and make it purposeful is a great set of problem solving skills that you wouldn't get any other way.
-Cathy van der Linden, Teacher, Oak Middle School
Check out the video below to see some of the math maker projects student created during the MIND pilot project, and what educators saw happening as students worked through the process:
As part of our ongoing mission, MIND is engaged in targeted initiatives with partners across the country to empower students and improve education.
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About the Author
Calli Wright is Education Engagement Manager at MIND Research Institute. She loves playing board games and editing their rules, which she often talks about on twitter @CalliWrights.