Agency by Design

Educational initiatives that emphasize making, design, engineering, and tinkering have been gaining traction in schools and organizations across the country. While maker-centered learning is not a new concept, recent and emerging trends suggest a new kind of hands-on pedagogy—a responsive and flexible pedagogy that encourages community and collaboration (a do-it-together mentality), distributed teaching and learning, and crossing boundaries.

Agency by Design (AbD) is a multiyear research initiative at Project Zero investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences.

The Framework
Resources
publicationsMaker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self

Maker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self

Maker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self: Preliminary Findings Of The Agency By Design Project

 

A White Paper Presented By Agency by Design

Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School Of Education

 

This White Paper, from January 2015, presents an overview of our developing work, and concludes by presenting the “big take away” from our research and by making suggestions for policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders. Along the way, we identify what we consider to be the most salient benefits of maker-centered learning for young people and, introduce some of the key concepts and resources that have emerged from our work, including the concept of maker empowerment, the importance of developing a sensitivity to design, and the three pathways that lead to these desired outcomes.

videosParts, Purposes, Complexities in a Technology Classroom

Parts, Purposes, Complexities in a Technology Classroom

High School technology students in Darlease Monteiro’s class use Parts, Purposes, Complexities to analyze website apps prior to designing their own.

activities and practicesVoice and Choice: Learner Workbook

Voice and Choice: Learner Workbook

This Learn Workbook supports engagement with the Voice and Choice protocol. Created by Julie Rains.

activities and practicesTake Apart

Take Apart

Mechanical dissections are a practice that allows learners to discover the often hidden design of objects.

pictures of practiceCollaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

Collaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

Educator Tatum Omari examines the system of educator collaborations and partnerships.

Field NoteHacking Simple Systems: The Tale of an Incomplete Soccer Uniform

Hacking Simple Systems: The Tale of an Incomplete Soccer Uniform

Oakland Learning Community Tatum Omari’s builds on her experience with system redesign to hack her daughter’s soccer gear.

thinking routinesReflect, Connect, Project

Reflect, Connect, Project

This thinking routine helps learners to think in the past, present, and future, viewing their making in the context of a long-term and broad trajectory of learning. It is meant to cultivate an ongoing reflective practice in the classroom.

activities and practicesMaterials Exploration

Materials Exploration

This practice promotes noticing, play, and exploration. When learners have time to tinker with materials they can gain an understanding of the affordances, possibilities, and constraints inherent in a variety of making materials.