Chapter 1 Summary by Julie Kelly
Since the beginning of time, "humans have been tinkerers" as they have worked to make things better in their environment. Consider Leonardo da Vinci who used his many skills including observation to make many scientific discoveries. Influencers in the field of education include Rousseau, who stressed the importance giving children time to develop freely in nature, Pestalozzi, who believed that the learning results from first-hand experiences and self-activity, Froebel, who designed the concept of kindergarten, and Montessori, who founded the approach of the same name, where children are immersed in discovery through the use of materials. Piaget built upon the work of the above influencers and formalized their work in his theories of constructivism and stage development. Knowledge construction undergone by the learner based on experience and the learner making sense of it through an internal process. Piaget posits that teachers need to know their subject and "approach it from a constantly interdisciplinary point of view." Teachers approaching learning from an interdisciplinary view and keeping student interests in mind aid student's construction of meaning. Thus making, tinkering, and engineering fits with Piagetan theories. Dewey believed that education should prepare children to solve problems methodically through observation and previous experience. Papert, who is also called the father of the maker movement, built upon the influencer's work, and his own experiences with learning through tinkering, both as a child and an adult. He advocated for children to use computers and make things with them via programming. Papert developed the theory of constructionism- learning by actively constructing knowledge through the act of making something shareable.
In 2005, Gershenfield wrote a book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop- from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication. He found that through his work at MIT teaching the course "How to Make Almost Anything" and his Fab Lab, students learning process was driven by the demand for knowledge. When a student mastered a new skill, they were driven to show others how to use it. As new skills were needed, students were driven to acquire the knowledge and then to pass it on by leaving behind the tutorial materials they had assembled during the process. Also in 2005, Make magazine, organized the first annual Maker Faire, where children and adults come together to tinker, craft, invent, and share their making. The maker movement continues to grow just as learners continue to grow by being the center of the process.
Chapter 2 Summary by Julie Kelly
Constructionism builds upon the theory of constructivism. Taking constructivism one step further, with the learner "engaged in a personally meaningful activity outside of their head". The maker movement syncs with the theory of constructivism. The process of making creates student ownership of the project and the steps taken to complete the project. The materials are part of the transformative process of making. The book states that the "computer as material" will be explored throughout the remainder of the book. Tinkering as a mindset "allows all students to learn in their own style" playing and learning as students use their imagination to tinker. Embracing the maker movement will integrate engineering into the curriculum. By looking at learning through the lenses of making, tinkering, and engineering, student engagement will increase.
"If every child were to be given access to a computer, computers would be cheap enough for every child to be given access to a computer."
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