Historical Roots

Halverson and Sheridan (2014) define Making as designing, building and innovating with tools and materials to solve practical problems. The act of Making is not a new concept because “people have been making things forever” (p. 495). As far back as the Stone Age, people used materials in their environment to Make tools to solve problems as they encountered them (Malafouris, 2013).

Human beings are known to ideate, plan, and create things with their hands using tools available to them. The arts and crafts movement, practice-based learning, project-based learning, and DIY, among others, are considered related to Making because they all “share the spirit of self-produced and original projects” (Halverson & Peppler, 2018, p. 286). While people have been making things forever, the conception of Making did not get much traction until the past decade when a great number of people began engaging in Making activities. This was facilitated by the worldwide spread and adoption of the Maker Movement. The decentralization (ease of access and low-cost technology) of digital technologies such as digital art, programming languages, science, computers, 3-D printing, etc. have greatly contributed to the expansion of Making throughout the world. Moreover, the launch of Make: Magazine in 2005, and the Maker Faire one year later, brought together artists, builders, and admirers of the Maker Movement, and further catalyzed the Maker Movement. The act of Making invites people to express themselves and share their creations, ideas and designs. Thus, the Maker movement has been widely embraced in communities, schools, libraries, and museums.

The Making of things has been widely used in education as a venue for the development of students’ STEM proficiencies.

Notable Contributors to the Maker Movement

Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert developed a theory of learning, constructionism, based upon Piaget’s constructivism. Both constructivism and constructionism theories recognize that knowledge is actively constructed by a learner, with constructionism adding the dimension that the knowledge be constructed during the process of making a shareable object (Harel & Papert, 1991). The theory posits that people learn effectively through Making things. It recognizes that children are the designers and builders of their own cognitive tools. And by Makers sharing their designs, the practice of Making helps enhance and extends conceptual understandings of critical socio-technical issues. Also read more about Papert’s Mindstorms

1969 – The Logo Turtle – Seymour Papert et al (South African/American). (2015, August 24).

Yasmin Kafai

Yasmin was born in Germany and has studied and worked in Germany, the USA, and France. She is a Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Kafai worked with Seymour Papert at the MIT lab. Taking constructionist perspectives to computer programming, Kafai has engaged in designing and researching online tools, projects, and communities with the aim of promoting computational making, crafting, and creativity. She helped develop the Scratch programming language where millions of kids create and share their programs. She has also authored or co-authored many books, among them is the “Connected Code: Children as the Programmers, Designers, and Makers of the 21st century, which examines the downfall and comeback of programming, and connects coding to design. Her other book, Connected Gaming, focuses on constructionist approaches to gaming and learning. Read more about Kafai’s Learning Design by Making Games