Bringing choice to children
Our K5/1st class was recently renovated to create a Maker Space. Used as one of the centers during class, the Maker Space allows the child to decide how to use a variety of objects to create art. This sometimes leads to negotiation, as supplies are limited; collaboration, as discussion occurs about how to create something or even how two or more children will work together to create something; and complete freedom of choice resulting in freeform art product.
The teacher doesn’t decide what the student will make, e.g. using this construction paper and these leaves, make a tree. The supplies are brought out and themes may be suggested but ultimately, the creative output is whatever the child decides!
Makerspace builds on a constructivist ideology to form a constructivist and constructionist approach to education, as introduced by Jean Piaget and developed by Seymour Papert. The primary goal of both constructivism and constructionism is to have learners create their own knowledge by creating and interacting with physical objects. It has clear connections to media literacy as well as to self-directed learning.
“Ultimately, the outcome of maker education and educational makerspaces leads to determination, independence and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world through simulating real-world challenges. In short, an educational makerspace is less of a classroom and more of a motivational speech without words” (Kurti et al., 2014, p. 11).
"Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls"
-Mark Hatch The Maker Movement Manifesto