Creating is important.
In the West, traditional education has concentrated mainly on our heads, on filling them with knowledge. Little time and effort has been put into teaching students to be creative, to think widely (or often, deeply for that matter). In the past few decades, as our societies have advanced technologically, we have somehow arrived at the point where an education that places at least some emphasis on making actual real things with our hands and our minds is seen as second class, as “vocational.”
This is a mistake.
As a society, this leaves us with people who can use all sorts of services and products, but who have no idea how any of it works. As a I heard a comedian say on time, “if I were to drop you off in the bush with nothing but the clothes on your back, an axe and some matches, how long would it be until you could send me an email?”
Information and data are important. Literacy is changing. These tools and skills give us access to people and perspectives we did not have in the past. They hep us to see our world in ways that we wouldn’t have otherwise. But they cannot be all that schools and education offer.
We are missing the ability to problem solve, to learn design skills, to think critically about meeting our needs. We are also doing our students a disservice in not preparing them for huge employment opportunities in a whole host of industries. Some of the jobs that are in the most demand across the country aren’t necessarily people who can set up a website, but are people who can use technology in applied ways to solve problems. Machinists. People who work in the field of instrumentation. Heavy duty mechanics and health care professionals.
For too long edtech has been about our heads. It is time to get our hands involved as well.
It doesn’t matter what kids are creating with. They can be working with wood, photography, metal, words, plastic, images, video or code. Creativity can look like a lot of different things. What’s important is that they are creating. We want them to be problem solving and designing.
The idea of this list is to make it easier for people who want to get involved in the maker movement in their classroom to access ideas and resources in moving forward.
If you have a resource, a product, a book or an idea that should be listed here, send me an email: glassbeedatgmaildotcom
Raspberry Pi pdf manual (pdf)
Animation / Game Design / Coding for Kids
BYOB (a Scratch variant)
Robotics / Electronics
Books, Essays and Other Resources
Hackerspaces / Makerspaces
Free / Open Source Software
Schools and classrooms operate on pretty limited budgets. This is one reason that free and open source software is a good thing. The other reason is more political. Choosing open source software is a choice that supports the idea of information and creation being important acts that should be available to people everywhere at the lowest cost possible. Free and open source software allows more voices to contribute to every conversation.