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
publicationsMaker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self

Maker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self

Maker-Centered Learning And The Development Of Self: Preliminary Findings Of The Agency By Design Project

 

A White Paper Presented By Agency by Design

Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School Of Education

 

This White Paper, from January 2015, presents an overview of our developing work, and concludes by presenting the “big take away” from our research and by making suggestions for policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders. Along the way, we identify what we consider to be the most salient benefits of maker-centered learning for young people and, introduce some of the key concepts and resources that have emerged from our work, including the concept of maker empowerment, the importance of developing a sensitivity to design, and the three pathways that lead to these desired outcomes.

Field NoteHow Can Understanding What We Value as Educators Shape What We Assess in Our Classrooms?

How Can Understanding What We Value as Educators Shape What We Assess in Our Classrooms?

What do we want our learners to be like when they leave our classrooms at the end of the year? What does authentic learning look like in a maker-centered classroom? Your response to these questions might be an indicator of what type of learning you value as a teacher. Inspired by Carlina Rinaldi and her writing on the relationship between documentation and assessment, we used these questions to identify what types of learning or dispositions teachers value most within their contexts. Think of it as a lens for looking at learning. What we quickly realized is that the values educators bring to their work have implications connected to assessment.

thinking routinesParts, Purposes, Complexities

Parts, Purposes, Complexities

This thinking routine helps learners slow down and make careful, detailed observations by encouraging them to look beyond the obvious features of an object or system. This thinking routine helps stimulate curiosity, raises questions, and surfaces areas for further inquiry.

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.

documentation and assessment toolsAbD Framework: A Guide for Educators

AbD Framework: A Guide for Educators

A resource for educators to explore the ways you can use the Agency by Design Framework and Making Moves/Indicators.

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?

pictures of practiceCollaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

Collaborative Partnerships Through Systems Thinking

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

activities and practicesVoz y Decisión

Voz y Decisión