Agency by Design

Educational initiatives that emphasize making, design, engineering, and tinkering have been gaining traction in schools and organizations across the country. While maker-centered learning is not a new concept, recent and emerging trends suggest a new kind of hands-on pedagogy—a responsive and flexible pedagogy that encourages community and collaboration (a do-it-together mentality), distributed teaching and learning, and crossing boundaries.

Agency by Design (AbD) is a multiyear research initiative at Project Zero investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences.

The Framework
Resources
Field NoteFraming a Value-based Approach to Documentation and Assessment for Maker-Centered Learning

Framing a Value-based Approach to Documentation and Assessment for Maker-Centered Learning

Synthesizing recent conversations between AbD and the Oakland Leadership Team, AbD researcher Andrea Sachdeva proposes a values-based stance on documentation and assessment in maker-centered learning.

pictures of practiceTake Apart Project

Take Apart Project

Things Come Apart, by Todd McLellan provided some inspiration for educators from Park Day School to explore the complexities of everyday objects with their second grade learners. In this picture of practice essay educator Jeanine Harmon shares the project.

Featured photo by Jaime Chao Mignano

Field NoteExploring Complexity in Qualitative Research: Designing a System for Collaborative Analysis

Exploring Complexity in Qualitative Research: Designing a System for Collaborative Analysis

Agency by Design research assistant Sarah May explores the complex nature of working with qualitative data based on her experiences collaboratively coding and analyzing AbD’s interview transcripts.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment in the Making!

Maker Empowerment in the Making!

Oakland Learning Community member Ilya Pratt describes her experiences working with the concept of “Maker Empowerment” at a recent Agency by Design workshop in Oakland, CA.

publicationsComplicating STEAM: A Critical Look at the Arts in the STEAM Agenda

Complicating STEAM: A Critical Look at the Arts in the STEAM Agenda

This entry offers a critical perspective of the role of the arts within the popular STEAM agenda. Most loosely defined, STEAM can be understood as incorporating the arts into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) acronym for the purpose of introducing a focus on art and design into these four subject areas. This entry first questions what the A in the STEAM acronym actually represents. The entry then argues that a focus on any discrete set of disciplines prioritizes some domains of practice, while overlooking others. The entry goes on to encourage a more distributed approach to pedagogical practice that is less about establishing catchy acronyms that privilege some disciplines over others – and more about supporting young people and adults in becoming multimodal learners capable of making connections between and beyond the disciplines.

activities and practicesVoice and Choice: The Protocol

Voice and Choice: The Protocol

A protocol for looking closely at content, considering perspectives and representation, and then redesigning or reimagining that content from one's own perspective. Try out the accompanying Learner Workbook!

activities and practicesVoice and Choice: Learner Workbook

Voice and Choice: Learner Workbook

This Learn Workbook supports engagement with the Voice and Choice protocol. Created by Julie Rains.

Field NoteExploring the Role of the Arts in Maker-Centered Learning Experiences

Exploring the Role of the Arts in Maker-Centered Learning Experiences

Participants at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum consider the role of the arts in maker-centered learning experiences.