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 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 NoteA TEDx Talk about the Maker Mind: Why Having a Sensitivity to Design Matters

A TEDx Talk about the Maker Mind: Why Having a Sensitivity to Design Matters

Agency by Design project manager Jen Ryan describes her experience discussing the “maker mind” at TEDxDirigo.

activities and practicesThe Elaboration Game

The Elaboration Game

This practice is designed to deepen learners’ sensitivity to design through drawing, observing, questioning, and collaborating. 

thinking routinesParts, Perspectives, Me

Parts, Perspectives, Me

This routine helps students explore complexity by encouraging them to look closely at the details of something, considering its various viewpoints, users, and stakeholders, and reflecting on their own connections and involvement with it.

documentation and assessment toolsTell Me More!

Tell Me More!

These conversation-starters help learners become sensitive to the presence of the Making Moves in their own and others’ learning. They also help learners have substantive conversations about the Making Moves with their peers.

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.

activities and practicesMemorable Making Experience

Memorable Making Experience

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

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.