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 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 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.

Field NoteDesigning and Making with English Language Learners

Designing and Making with English Language Learners

Thi Bui teaches art and multimedia at Oakland International High School, a public high school for immigrants students’ where command of the English language is one of the last things to be taken for granted.

pictures of practiceMaker Empowerment and Resourcefulness

Maker Empowerment and Resourcefulness

A practice that promotes the capacity of looking closely is the Elaboration Game. This picture of practice essay shares a version that was adapted by educator Tatum Omari for a group of young learners to examine a tortilla press during their unit of study about bread making.

pictures of practiceCollaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

Collaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

Educator Tatum Omari examines the system of educator collaborations and partnerships.

thinking routinesThink, Feel, Care

Think, Feel, Care

This routine encourages learners to consider the different and diverse perspectives held by the various people who interact within a particular system.

documentation and assessment toolsInquiry Cycle Tool

Inquiry Cycle Tool

The Inquiry Cycle is a tool to support teacher and student learning—and to make that learning visible—all the while exploring the capacities associated with the Agency by Design framework for maker-centered learning.

activities and practicesMapping Systems

Mapping Systems

The practice of mapping allows learners to build and demonstrate their understanding of the parts, people, and interactions that comprise a given system.