Making space : pedagogical interventions to foster equity in introductory maker education
Author(s)Weishaar, Katherine (Katherine R.)
Pedagogical interventions to foster equity in introductory maker education
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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The maker movement has spread widely among both adults and children, but its recent integration into K-12 education has forced makerspace coordinators to examine their work through a new lens. Experienced makers need little beyond safety training to get started making their own projects, but new makers, particularly young students, need more. Without properly scaffolded introductory activities, inexperienced students quickly become discouraged and opt-out of maker activities. This thesis explores possible pedagogical guidelines for introductory activities that create more inclusive educational makerspaces. Education theorists and maker educators consistently express a need to support beginners, but the exact type of support differs. Some foster equity by choosing non-gendered introductory projects that can be easily modified for personal customization. Many suggest that the most useful support comes from creating a maker community, typically by leveraging both peer interactions and mentor relationships. In the workshop I taught, I tested my lesson plan both with and without explicit emphasis on peer feedback. The sections with an emphasis on peer feedback were more creative, social, and willing to ask questions than the sections without it. Though their techniques for creating community may differ, educators must be aware of the psychological barriers that keep students from making. Some students claim that they lack certain skills, whether technical or creative, that are necessary to make an original project. Others believe that makerspaces are only for "smart people" or "engineers" and do not view themselves as part of those groups. And still others are eager to get started, but simply lack the economic privilege necessary to continue work with expensive tools at home. All of these students need different types of support, but they will all benefit from a community where they view their mentors and peers as sources of inspiration and feedback instead of as unsurpassable competition.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-64).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology