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
thinking routinesPlaying Around With Roles

Playing Around With Roles

Engaging young learners in exploring complexity and finding opportunities to make systems better requires perspective taking and empathy. Role playing can be a powerful approach to support learners in taking others’ perspectives when exploring the roles, ideas, and feelings of different characters in a system. Here we offer a few thoughts on how to leverage children’s natural desire to play and how to employ different thinking routines to foster perspective taking and empathy. This tool is intended as a starting point and does not need to be followed step by step or happen all at once.

publicationsMaker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds

Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds

The Agency by Design guide to implementing maker-centered teaching and learning

Maker-Centered Learning provides both a theoretical framework and practical resources for the educators, curriculum developers, librarians, administrators, and parents navigating this burgeoning field. Written by the expert team from the Agency by Design initiative at Harvard's Project Zero, this book

  • Identifies a set of educational practices and ideas that define maker-centered learning, and introduces the focal concepts of maker empowerment and sensitivity to design.
  • Shares cutting edge research that provides evidence of the benefits of maker-centered learning for students and education as a whole.
  • Presents a clear Project Zero-based framework for maker-centered teaching and learning
  • Includes valuable educator resources that can be applied in a variety of design and maker-centered learning environments
  • Describes unique thinking routines that foster the primary maker capacities of looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunity.

A surge of voices from government, industry, and education have argued that, in order to equip the next generation for life and work in the decades ahead, it is vital to support maker-centered learning in various educational environments. Maker-Centered Learning provides insight into what that means, and offers tools and knowledge that can be applied anywhere that learning takes place.

documentation and assessment toolsDocumentation Templates

Documentation Templates

This tool is connected to the Agency by Design Making Moves. The Making Moves identifies three maker capacities that support a sensitivity to design, along with their associated learning moves. Here you’ll find three observation sheets, one for each of the maker capacities:  Looking Closely, Exploring Complexity, and Finding Opportunity.

thinking routinesIMAGINE SE…

IMAGINE SE…

Inicialmente, essa rotina estimula o pensamento divergente, à medida que os estudantes pensam em novas possibilidades para um objeto ou um sistema; depois, o pensamento convergente é encorajado, à medida que os estudantes decidem a maneira mais eficaz de construir, explorar, re/desenhar ou hackear esse objeto ou esse sistema.

thinking routines“另眼相看” 的思考模式 (简体版)

“另眼相看” 的思考模式 (简体版)

这个思考模式通过帮助学生近距离观察某个物品/系统的细节,考虑不同的使用者和利益相关者不同的观点角度,以反思自己和这个物品/系统的关系来探究其中的关联性。

activities and practicesMemorable Making Experience

Memorable Making Experience

A conversation starter and reflective activity for introducing young people and adults to making.

Field NoteTinkering Towards a Definition of Tinkering

Tinkering Towards a Definition of Tinkering

How do you define tinkering? In this post, Agency by Design principal investigator Shari Tishman tinkers towards a definition of tinkering that considers standard text book definitions, examples from real life tinkerers, and a consideration of the “symptoms” of tinkering.

videosExploring Complexity: A Capacity of Sensitivity to Design

Exploring Complexity: A Capacity of Sensitivity to Design

Educator Gus Goodwin shares how his students engage with the Agency by Design capacities during a design and engineering challenge, specifically highlighting the capacity Exploring Complexity.

Video by Alex Coppola

Featured photo by Jaime Chao Mignano