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
Field NoteA TEDx Talk about the Maker Mind: Why Having a Sensitivity to Design Matters

A TEDx Talk about the Maker Mind: Why Having a Sensitivity to Design Matters

Agency by Design project manager Jen Ryan describes her experience discussing the “maker mind” at TEDxDirigo.

publicationsIdentifying What Matters

Identifying What Matters

In this essay, leaders of the Agency by Design Pittsburgh network Peter Wardrip, Jeffrey Evancho, and Annie McNamarra describe their process of pursuing documentation and assessment strategies for maker-centered learning that are based on the values educators bring to their work in schools and other settings. Using the metaphor of big rocks and little rocks as introduced by Steven Covey, the authors describe the process of identifying one’s values and documenting and assessing student learning from the perspective of one’s values. They then articulate the lessons they have learned and their suggestions for moving forward. The core findings that emerge from this work are: (a) identifying one’s values is challenging, (b) documentation requires practice, (c) one’s values are linked to one’s content, and (d) visibility supports measurement.

videosThe Maker Mind: Jen Ryan at TEDxDirigo

The Maker Mind: Jen Ryan at TEDxDirigo

Agency by Design researcher Jen Ryan explores some of the central ideas from the framework at TEDxDirigo Generate.

documentation and assessment toolsAbD Framework + Moves Handout

AbD Framework + Moves Handout

An easy reference handout of the Agency by Design Framework for Maker-Centered Learning.

documentation and assessment toolsLooking at Student Work Protocol

Looking at Student Work Protocol

A protocol that provides structure for collaboratively examining documentation that includes student’s products and processes and offers an opportunity for educators and learners to reflect back and plan for next steps.
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.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment in the Making!

Maker Empowerment in the Making!

Oakland Learning Community member Ilya Pratt describes her experiences working with the concept of “Maker Empowerment” at a recent Agency by Design workshop in Oakland, CA.

Field NoteFraming a Value-based Approach to Documentation and Assessment for Maker-Centered Learning

Framing a Value-based Approach to Documentation and Assessment for Maker-Centered Learning

Synthesizing recent conversations between AbD and the Oakland Leadership Team, AbD researcher Andrea Sachdeva proposes a values-based stance on documentation and assessment in maker-centered learning.