Discover how maker-centered learning prepares students of all ages to thrive in a complex world.
Over the past decade, maker-centered learning has become increasingly popular, providing students and their teachers with new opportunities to build, hack, redesign, and tinker with a variety of materials in a variety of ways. Maker-centered learning offers opportunities to learn about new tools and technologies, but more than that, it fosters important thinking skills—such as adaptability, collaborative thinking, risk-taking, and multiple-perspective taking—that are critical to thriving in a complex world.
Drawing on research from Project Zero’s Agency by Design (AbD) project, Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom offers classroom teachers, maker educators, administrators, and parents an opportunity to explore maker-centered learning practices and the opportunities they afford. Through hands-on, collaborative activities, participants will discover tools to support maker-centered learning in their settings while examining the benefits to both young people and facilitators.
New Course Modifications Due to the Pandemic
We have modified course content, the application process, and course completion options in order to support the many different and shifting professional circumstances that educators may experience due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Course Content: Over the last two decades, Project Zero has developed approaches to online professional learning that incorporate core research-based principles about how people learn. Through these online courses, participants have the opportunity to experience for themselves some of the pedagogical strategies and activities that support effective distance learning. In addition, courses have been adapted so that assignments can be carried out by both educators working with learners in face-to-face contexts and those working in virtual/online contexts.
Individual Application Option: Because the courses require teams to meet regularly throughout the course and to complete assignments collaboratively, enrollment in the PZ online courses has historically been open only to teams whose members come from the same school or organization. While preference will continue to be given to teams of colleagues from the same school building or organization, we also now accept applications from:
- teams comprising individuals from the same district or organization but not the same building or working group;
- educators who form teams across districts or organizations; and,
- individuals who have not formed a team. People applying individually, if accepted into the course, will be placed on a “virtual team” that includes two to three other educators who have also applied individually and who come from the same or proximal time zones.
Teams with members in different geographic locations (or teams in areas in which social distancing is the norm) have the option to meet and complete collaborative assignments virtually.
The online course, developed by Project Zero’s Jennifer Ryan & Edward Clapp, begins with a one-week orientation, during which you will explore the online platform and get to know fellow members of the learning community. Six two-week content sessions follow, with an average time commitment of about 3-4 hours per week. In each session you will:
- Learn new ideas
- Review and reflect on key ideas from the previous session
- Plan for trying and/or fully implementing course ideas in the classroom
- Work on a project or curriculum unit
- Reflect and share feedback with a coach and peers
Enrollment is by team, which promotes a deeper and richer learning experience and will help you sustain your use of core Project Zero ideas after the course concludes. Team members will collaborate on most of the assignments, including the development of a project. Teams meet face-to-face or virtually once every two weeks, so all team members will need to commit to a regular common meeting time throughout the term.m.
Although the sessions are structured and coach-facilitated, all the online interactions in the course are asynchronous. You and your team can decide when to work on the course materials as long as you submit the assignment(s) on or before the due dates.
This online course is not linked to a degree program. Academic credit is not available. You will be eligible for a digital certificate representing 45 professional development hours upon successful completion.
View the course outline for additional information on course sessions.
Online Course Schedule
Please review the course schedule to ensure that you and your team will be able to participate fully in the course, taking into account your local holidays and vacations. The average time commitment is about three to four hours per week.
September 2020 Term Schedule
Session 1: Monday, September 21
Session 2: Monday, September 28
Session 3: Monday, October 12
Session 4: Monday, October 26
Session 5: Monday, November 9
Session 6: Monday, November 23
Session 7: Monday, December 7
Course closes: Sunday, December 20
- Develop an understanding of the concept of maker-centered learning, its contemporary origins, and its implications for education
- Become familiar with an instructional framework that supports maker-centered learning
- Learn to thoughtfully develop maker-centered learning experiences to meet the goals of your learning environment
Who Should Attend
This course requires enrollment by teams of 3-6 people. Those who register individually will be placed on a virtual team with two or three other educators (all in the same or proximal time zones) who have also registered individually. Team members must be able to try out course ideas with students/learners in classrooms, either virtually or face-to-face, or other direct learning environments with students. Depending on pandemic circumstances and/or team composition, while the learning design encourages teams to meet locally, in person, once every two weeks to engage in group-based activities, these team meetings can occur virtually. We also recommend that teams have at least one group of students with whom they can try out tools throughout the course. Teams can be comprised of:
- Educators, administrators, and curriculum designers who want to explore maker-centered learning experiences in formal and informal learning environments (course content is equally applicable to those working with elementary school, secondary school, higher education, and adult learners)
- Out of school educators and museum educators
- Participants with a working knowledge of maker-centered learning and those who are new to the concepts of making and design in the educational sphere