Guest Author Jeff Evancho, the Project Zero Programming Specialist at the Quaker Valley School District, describes the process of establishing the Pittsburgh Maker Educator Learning Community, including the community’s interest in developing documentation and assessment strategies for the maker-centered classroom.
What do we want our learners to be like when they leave our classrooms at the end of the year? What does authentic learning look like in a maker-centered classroom? Your response to these questions might be an indicator of what type of learning you value as a teacher. Inspired by Carlina Rinaldi and her writing on the relationship between documentation and assessment, we used these questions to identify what types of learning or dispositions teachers value most within their contexts. Think of it as a lens for looking at learning. What we quickly realized is that the values educators bring to their work have implications connected to assessment.
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.
This practice first encourages learners to observe the world around them and look for design, “in the wild,” taking a broad inventory of the designs they notice. Then it asks them to focus in on one object or system to consider the designer’s perspective or to propose redesign ideas.
Agency by Design Principal Investigator Shari Tishman takes a dispositional approach to redefining “maker empowerment.”
This thinking routine helps learners slow down and make careful, detailed observations by encouraging them to look beyond the obvious features of an object or system. This thinking routine helps stimulate curiosity, raises questions, and surfaces areas for further inquiry.