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
publicationsThe Inquiry Cycle in Action

The Inquiry Cycle in Action

The Agency by Design Inquiry Cycle has been designed to support educators in the processes of designing, documenting, assessing, and reflecting on maker-centered learning. This tool was collaboratively developed over time, and formally prototyped with cohorts of maker educators in two locations: Oakland, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In this paper, Agency by Design researchers Jessica Ross and Edward P. Clapp loosely use the structure of the Inquiry Cycle to describe the iterative process of developing this tool, along with some suggested implications for practice. Throughout the piece, we share the experiences of our teacher partners as they grappled with this tool—tweaking, hacking, and remixing it—as they explored its potential for designing, documenting, assessing, and reflecting upon their work in the maker-centered classroom.

Field NoteFrom Maker Space to Maker Campus

From Maker Space to Maker Campus

Boston-based architect David Stephen discusses his experiences developing “Maker Campus Master Plans” with various members of Agency by Design’s Oakland Learning Community.

thinking routinesImagíne si...

Imagíne si...

Esta rutina primero apoya el pensamiento divergente, a medida que los estudiantes piensan en nuevas posibilidades para un objeto o sistema; ​​luego apoya el pensamiento convergente, a medida que los estudiantes deciden la manera más efectiva para construir, manipular, re/diseñar o alterar un objeto o un sistema.

publicationsParticipatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom

Participatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom

Participatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom presents a systems-based approach to examining creativity in education that aims to make participating in invention and innovation accessible to all students. Moving beyond the gifted-versus-ungifted debate present in many of today’s classrooms, the book’s inclusive framework situates creativity as a participatory and socially distributed process. The core principle of the book is that individuals are not creative, ideas are creative, and that there are multiple ways for a variety of individuals to participate in the development of creative ideas. This dynamic reframing of invention and innovation provides strategies for teachers, curriculum designers, policymakers, researchers, and others who seek to develop a more equitable approach towards establishing creative learning experiences in various educational settings.

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.

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.

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!

pictures of practiceMaker Empowerment and Resourcefulness

Maker Empowerment and Resourcefulness

A practice that promotes the capacity of looking closely is the Elaboration Game. This picture of practice essay shares a version that was adapted by educator Tatum Omari for a group of young learners to examine a tortilla press during their unit of study about bread making.