Maker education: exploring and experimenting

Karien Vermeulen

We see pupils as inventors who learn to design and implement their ideas using modern technology. In a process of exploration and experimentation you learn as you make. You do not know in advance what exactly you are going to make and while working and experimenting, you come up with ideas. There is not always work from the creative process or the design circle, but often by 'messing around'.

At Waag, the emphasis is strongly on technology, but creative education can also use all kinds of artisan techniques and materials. The term tinkering is often used in English. This term can be translated as messy or tinkering, where new ideas arise while you are busy with your hands.

In schools you often see cross-curricular projects that combine art, science and technology with a combination of physical and digital techniques and materials. This is also reflected internationally in STEAM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art & math.

Creative education and art belong together. Many artists work on the cutting edge of art and technology. We use art as a source of inspiration and to stimulate the fantasy of students. The process-oriented way of working of the art courses fits well with creative education, as well as the open design assignments and the importance of imagination. Where technique usually involves the solution of a technical problem, it is about art to give expression to an own idea or feeling.

For teachers we organise the two-day Teacher Maker Camp. Here, teachers from PO to HBO are introduced to digital techniques such as 2D and 3D design, vinyl and laser cutting and 3D printing. They can be pupils again and develop all kinds of creative and technical skills. Of course we hope that they will then use it themselves in their class.

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