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 routinesPartes, Propósitos, Complejidades

Partes, Propósitos, Complejidades

Esta rutina de pensamiento ayuda a los estudiantes a ir lentamente y observar detallada y cuidadosamente, al animarlos a mirar más allá de las características obvias de un objeto o sistema. Esta rutina de pensamiento estimula la curiosidad, plantea preguntas y hace evidente otras áreas para continuar la investigación.

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.

publicationsMaker-Centered Learning Playbook for Early Childhood Education

Maker-Centered Learning Playbook for Early Childhood Education

Since 2012, the Agency by Design research team at Project Zero has explored the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning in a variety of settings. This initial research produced a flexible pedagogical model that supports young people in becoming sensitive to design and seeing themselves as the creators of their worlds. Beginning in 2018, the Agency by Design research team began working with a cohort of early childhood educators in Hong Kong on a pilot study to adapt the Agency by Design framework for young learners. The result of this exciting work is the Maker-Centered Learning Playbook for Early Childhood Education. This playbook includes lessons learned from the study, pictures of practice, and a host of educator tools and resources designed to support the development of young students’ maker capacities while also nurturing other generative cognitive dispositions and habits of mind at this early stage of learning and development.

This resource is available in hard copy on Amazon.

Field NoteCuriosities, Collections, and Curating: Considering Maker Portfolios

Curiosities, Collections, and Curating: Considering Maker Portfolios

AbD researcher Jessica Ross elaborates on her role in the Open Portfolio Project by asking the question: What advice can we offer young makers as they document their making throughout their lifetimes?

thinking routinesThe MCL Hacker Helper

The MCL Hacker Helper

Just as the broader Agency by Design framework for maker-centered learning encourages people to be active creators of the designed world, the Hacker Helper Tool invites educators to view the breadth of educator resources associated with the Agency by Design framework as malleable. This tool provides prompts to support educators as they “hack” existing Agency by Design tools, practices, and thinking routines to work better for their learners.

thinking routines“深入拆解”的思考模式 (简体版)

“深入拆解”的思考模式 (简体版)


activities and practicesVoz y Decisión

Voz y Decisión


videosAgency by Design: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds

Agency by Design: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds

"Agency by Design: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds" explores the ways in which educators can develop teaching strategies that support student agency through maker-centered learning experiences.

Video by Alex Coppola