Waag Society’s Creative Learning Lab annually organizes a professional development course for teachers in maker education. Teachers get acquainted with the newest maker technologies—like digital fabrication, 3D printing, electronics, and programming. But most of all, they get to experience being a learner again. They get to be inspired, and to make what they always wanted to make.
The format of this course will also be transferred to other maker spaces and teachers in The Netherlands.
Today, kids are growing up in an entirely new society—a society in which technology is becoming more important every day. Yet, within our educational system, we still prepare children to function in an antiquated society. We need citizens with skills for the 21st century: literacy, ICT literacy, creativity, teamwork, problem solving, and informed citizenship. These skills enable young people to play an active role in society, thereby improving their living environment and social opportunities.
Making has gained new meaning in today's society. Through the rise of the Internet, new making principles have been established. These principles are based on openness, transparency, and social connectedness. New professions arise on the boundary between virtual and physical reality. Enter, the crafts of the new century and the next phase of the digital revolution. With the advent of digital fabrication, physical products can now be created from digital files. Of course, human beings also want to give meaning to, and personalize their own products. When people are able to actively shape their environment, awareness of their actions increases. Thus, ownership and responsibility for the environment and life are likely to increase as well.
"What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand." With this statement, Confucius illustrated an important principle 2,500 years ago: we understand the world better if we actively participate in it. In creating, we meet the world. We gain new experiences through creation, and learn about what works (and what does not). Making, therefore, leads to knowledge, insights, and opportunities.
Many teachers are reluctant to use technology in their classroom. They are not familiar with digital fabrication, programming, and physical computing. They might also not know about the possibilities these new technologies can offer to enrich lessons.
The central elements in this maker education course are: teachers, creativity, do-it-yourself, and enthusiasm for making, creating, and inquisitiveness. To inspire teachers while helping them develop 21st century skills, and challenging them to better prepare their students for the modern world.