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
thinking routinesImagine if...

Imagine if...

This routine first encourages divergent thinking, as learners think of new possibilities for an object or system, and then encourages convergent thinking, as learners decide upon an effective approach to build, tinker, re/design, or hack an object or a system.

Field NoteA Culture (and Economy) of Making and Sharing

A Culture (and Economy) of Making and Sharing

The maker movement is no doubt still trending. But what’s driving this resurgence in the inclination to make? And is it a part of a larger socio/economic shift to a shared, participatory culture?

Field NoteDeveloping a Sensitivity to the Design of Teacher Learning Communities

Developing a Sensitivity to the Design of Teacher Learning Communities

A community of teachers and researchers work together in Cambridge, MA and Temescal, CA to learn more about how students understand design in the world.

thinking routines“另眼相看” 的思考模式

“另眼相看” 的思考模式


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.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment: A Concept Under Construction

Maker Empowerment: A Concept Under Construction

Agency by Designer project Director Shari Tishman introduces the concept of “maker empowerment” as a potential outcome of maker learning experiences.

documentation and assessment toolsAbD Framework: A Guide for Learners

AbD Framework: A Guide for Learners

A resource for learners to explore the ways you can use the Agency by Design Framework and Making Moves/Indicators.

thinking routinesMapping Systems Experiences

Mapping Systems Experiences

This tool guides young learners to look closely at a system and explore its complexity by directly experiencing the system and reflecting on that experience. This is particularly helpful when working with very young students who may struggle to conceptualize a complex system without direct experience. In addition, this tool provides suggestions for making student thinking visible by encouraging students to share their ideas and learn from each other.