NYSCI Issues Report on Innovation, Education and the Maker Movement

"In conjunction with the inaugural World Maker Faire, held in September 2010, NYSCI convened a two-day workshop with more than 80 leaders in education, science, technology and the arts to consider how the Maker movement can stimulate innovation in formal and informal education.
Participants considered three guiding questions:
  • How can the creativity that is at the core of Making inform K–12 and career technical education?
  • What collaborations between educators and Makers could inspire innovation in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) learning?
  • Where do opportunities exist for facilitating connections between the Maker community and participants' areas of expertise and interest?"

You can download the complete report here.

Blogs and Media Reports

The Power of Failure

Many folks had a lot to say about the concept of “Failing with Joy” and “Failing Forward.” Much of this is tied to our realization that "discipline and punish" methods often increase disengagement by penalizing failure and socially shaming learners. Invigorating education through engagement means finding new ways to treat failure as an iterative process of discovery, challenge and resilience. NPR recently covered this topic on Morning Edition: And for a deeper dive, Erica Kleinknecht looks at many of our current understandings of resilience and struggle to achieve at:

Critical Skills

Too often, we hear people speak of hard vs soft skills. There are many reasons to dislike this way of categorizing learning; for one, it privileges Western ideas of masculine over feminine, treating "hard" abilities as technical, mental and rational while "soft" abilities are considered squishy, amorphous and feelings based. For another, it feeds our current economy where good communication, teamwork and self-management skills are called essential, but they also are relegated to something you just pick up and add-on to real work done by people with "hard" skills.

Thankfully, we have a new crop of good researchers and advocates working past specious distinctions like hard and soft. Check out This American's Life "Back to School" episode and then for a deeper dive, start with Paul Tough's How Children Succeed and Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap.

Learnable Programming
"Khan Academy recently launched an online environment for learning to program. It offers a set of tutorials based on the JavaScript and Processing languages, and features a "live coding" environment, where the program's output updates as the programmer types. Because my work was cited as an inspiration for the Khan system, I felt I should respond with two thoughts about learning:
  • Programming is a way of thinking, not a rote skill. Learning about "for" loops is not learning to program, any more than learning about pencils is learning to draw.
  • People understand what they can see. If a programmer cannot see what a program is doing, she can't understand it.

How do we get people to understand programming? We change programming. We turn it into something that's understandable by people."

Inspiring Challenges and Practices

Revolution From the Ground Up: A Framework for the Education System We Need
"CHILD asks us to 'develop a culture of learning defined by intentional practices that explicitly honor' and embrace 16 principles across three key areas: student engagement, character and community, and deeper learning."

Want to Get America Back on Track? Realize the True Purpose of Schools
"As a society, we aren't realizing the true purpose of school—becoming lifelong learners and active, engaged citizens in democracy. Conformity and sticking in your shell is no longer the shortcut to success. What separates the best from the average in the world is grit, uniqueness, drive, and resilience."

Let Students Design Their Own Social Change Projects
"Changemaker Day will be a monthly event, giving students the opportunity to grow as changemakers and produce increasingly sophisticated projects. So when the Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS 4th graders graduate this year or when the rest of the student body advances to the next grade level, they will leave with the beginnings of a skill set that will allow them to succeed in a rapidly changing world."

Purposeful Storytelling
"My theory is that storytelling in the 21st century has an opportunity to be transformative in a way that enables those formerly known as the audience to become collaborators. Thanks to the democratization of tools to create and distribute media, the formerly top-down entertainment industry is now bubbling up with new stories and business models. So at Columbia, we are working to build a Story Design lab that mixes narrative design, game mechanics, and design science to tackle social problems."