What is Maker Learning and can it potentially revolutionize the way we learn and teach?
The world around us is changing every minute. What was trending yesterday is going to be obsolete tomorrow. But why is it so? Our refrigerators were just fine when they were just refrigerators, did we even think that we might need the smart kind where you can have a touch-screen dashboard that lets you order vegetables, fruits and plan meals along with playing music and letting you leave digital notes and virtual schedules?
It is because the world is revolutionizing, and we are changing the way we do things around here. Keeping the ease for the user at the heart of the solution, products are being developed. The same is for the education industry. The education sector is now being flipped on the side of the students’ and educators’ way of learning and teaching. Not just products are being developed to make the system more student-centric, but also approaches are being designed to do the same. One such approach is Maker Learning or Maker Education.
What exactly is Maker Learning?
Well, it’s an approach that focuses more on letting students ‘make’ solutions to the problems rather than sit with a textbook and read about it. It is a project-based learning and teaching method that caters to the real needs of the learners that are relevant to the human world. Maker Learning is closely associated with STEM, but it is more of letting students do things that induce learning without them even realizing that they are learning.
But how can Maker Learning be put in motion to revolutionize the way we learn and teach? Let’s dive into it.
1. Empower Critical Thinking
Maker Learning takes into account various aspects of the real world and gives the students a set of tools and resources which they can use to innovate, create, re-create or imagine what they can do with them. The environment is made such that the students can go into the deeper ends of thinking and come up with scenarios that will make things around them more advanced and better using the available resource in the best possible way. Since it is an open-minded concept, no views or imaginations are criticized and students end up developing the skill of critical thinking over the complex subject matter and identify routes that lead to rational solutions.
2. Utilize thinking for making solutions
Once the students have critically thought of a way to solve a problem, the next thing they are guided and cheered to do is create or make the solution that will solve the problem at hand. They are trained with the technology and mindset needed to make a world of their own which is invented by them. They are inspired by the teachers to imagine, create, fail, re-create, and develop something meaningful that holds value to them. When the students are given the power and ability to create, they come with innovative solutions, and learning becomes more personal.
3. Importance of Collaboration
The world history of inventors and great leaders is the evidence that shows the importance of collaboration. No expert can make great inventions alone, he needs a team. Maker Learning promotes collaboration with different individuals and their strengths so together they can create solutions for complex problems. They understand the importance of identifying the expertise needed and the people who possess them, band together in teams and groups while sharing knowledge, and facing challenges together as one entity.
4. Hands-on Experience
As this approach is closely associated with STEM, the conceptual part of it also based on creations and experiences using STEM basics. Students are encouraged to be makers and take ownership of their wants and need to find ways of fulfilling them and implement them.
For example, a student wants a skateboard, so it will be encouraged to use its skills for earning the money to buy it. Students are taught the concepts of money flow, cracking a deal, borrowing money, monitoring the flow, using charts, and indexes to save and spend rationally. They are given an experience of these things rather than just a theory about the same. Hands-on experiences inculcate deeper learning and development of skills.
5. Embrace Unique Solutions
Maker Learning promotes the celebration of all kinds of creations and attempts to keep students motivated to go on. No two innovators will have the same solution in mind. Keeping the previous example in mind, one student might choose to work for money to buy a skateboard, others might just work on making a skateboard. So, with different solutions, different experiences are created.
For making a skateboard, the student will still need different parts that might not be available. So, calculating the costs of raw material and comparing it with the cost of the skateboard, evaluating the working hours and expertise in making it the right way in one attempt to reduce the wastage costs and then actually working on one of the options is all taught. In Maker Learning, however the solution might turn out in the end, it is embraced and celebrated along with feedback and learnings to boost the confidence of the makers.
6. Piqued Curiosity
Students are naturally drawn towards things that seem interesting to them or makes them curious. When students are not pushed to learn but encouraged to explore, it piques their curiosity. And curiosity can bring out the best of a person’s personality and give a natural push to the students to look for answers or create one themselves. If Einstein wouldn’t have been curious about the apple falling from the tree, it would’ve taken much longer for someone to think and wonder about gravity and find out its concept. It is because of curiosity that some of the greatest inventions of the world have taken place and Maker Learning enables piquing of curiosity.
7. Integration of Learning across verticals
Maker Learning is not based on one subject or one concept. It actually integrates different verticals and their applications. It is not just the creation of technical experts in one particular area, it is in fact a learning environment that fosters different aspects of different streams and how the integration of them together can help in coming up with something great. Students don’t have one or two favorite subjects; they have their beloved projects that need knowledge of different subjects to be created.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned facets of Maker Learning, we can be positive that Maker Learning will lead to the creation of independent, confident future experts who are accustomed to solving real-world challenges backed by space makers mentor and recognize talents and potential of students and productively bring out the best in them. Maker Learning will not only revolutionize the way we learn and teach but also revolutionize the outcomes of the same.