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
publicationsComplicating STEAM: A Critical Look at the Arts in the STEAM Agenda

Complicating STEAM: A Critical Look at the Arts in the STEAM Agenda

This entry offers a critical perspective of the role of the arts within the popular STEAM agenda. Most loosely defined, STEAM can be understood as incorporating the arts into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) acronym for the purpose of introducing a focus on art and design into these four subject areas. This entry first questions what the A in the STEAM acronym actually represents. The entry then argues that a focus on any discrete set of disciplines prioritizes some domains of practice, while overlooking others. The entry goes on to encourage a more distributed approach to pedagogical practice that is less about establishing catchy acronyms that privilege some disciplines over others – and more about supporting young people and adults in becoming multimodal learners capable of making connections between and beyond the disciplines.

thinking routines“换位思考”的思考模式 (简体版)

“换位思考”的思考模式 (简体版)

这个思考模式鼓励学生在一个特定的系统里思考不同人物的观点。其目标是帮助学生理解系统里的不同角色,他们会用什么形式去表达感受以及对系统里其他人物和事物的关心。

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.

thinking routinesPARTES, PERSPECTIVAS, E EU

PARTES, PERSPECTIVAS, E EU

A rotina ajuda os estudantes a explorar a complexidade ao encorajá-los a olhar atentamente para os detalhes de algo, considerando uma variedade de pontos de vista, de usuários e de partes interessadas e refletindo sobre as próprias conexões e seu envolvimento com o objeto ou o sistema em questão.

Field NoteTinkering Towards a Definition of Tinkering

Tinkering Towards a Definition of Tinkering

How do you define tinkering? In this post, Agency by Design principal investigator Shari Tishman tinkers towards a definition of tinkering that considers standard text book definitions, examples from real life tinkerers, and a consideration of the “symptoms” of tinkering.

thinking routinesParts, Purposes, Complexities - Adapted for Early Childhood Education

Parts, Purposes, Complexities - Adapted for Early Childhood Education

This routine encourages learners to slow down and make careful, detailed observations as they look beyond the obvious features of an object or system and think about how it works. This thinking routine can help foster curiosity as children notice details, ask questions, make connections, and identify topics for future inquiry.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment Revisited

Maker Empowerment Revisited

Agency by Design Principal Investigator Shari Tishman takes a dispositional approach to redefining “maker empowerment.”

Field NoteFrom Maker Space to Maker Campus

From Maker Space to Maker Campus

Boston-based architect David Stephen discusses his experiences developing “Maker Campus Master Plans” with various members of Agency by Design’s Oakland Learning Community.