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
activities and practicesObservational Drawing

Observational Drawing

This practice allows learners to notice features of an object that they may not have the vocabulary to fully describe yet. By doing several sketches, learners have the chance to engage in perspective taking and to see details they might miss at first glance.

thinking routinesIMAGINE SE…


Inicialmente, essa rotina estimula o pensamento divergente, à medida que os estudantes pensam em novas possibilidades para um objeto ou um sistema; depois, o pensamento convergente é encorajado, à medida que os estudantes decidem a maneira mais eficaz de construir, explorar, re/desenhar ou hackear esse objeto ou esse sistema.

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.

thinking routinesImagine if... Adapted for Early Childhood Education

Imagine if... Adapted for Early Childhood Education

This routine encourages divergent thinking by prompting students to think of new possibilities for an object or system. It can also encourage convergent thinking by giving students a basis from which to narrow down their ideas so they can redesign or hack an object or a system. Ultimately, this thinking routine is about finding opportunity and pursuing new ideas.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment Revisited

Maker Empowerment Revisited

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

pictures of practiceT-Stool Project

T-Stool Project

In this picture of practice essay, educators Ilya Pratt and Jeanine Harmon share a community “Design + Build” project. Fourth and fifth grade students from North Oakland Charter School and Park Day School find an opportunity to work together to build T-Stools for classrooms.

thinking routines“深入拆解” 的思考模式

“深入拆解” 的思考模式


videosLooking Closely: A Capacity of Sensitivity to Design

Looking Closely: A Capacity of Sensitivity to Design

Students from King Middle School in Portland, Maine, explain the importance of looking closely in a maker-centered classroom.

Video by Alex Coppola