User Generated Education

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MAKE STEAM: Giving Maker Education Some Context

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As an experiential educator who has fully embraced technology as a means for allowing and facilitating learner voice, creativity, innovation, inventiveness, the Maker Education movement fits into my vision about what a good education entails.  I have been blogging and presenting about Maker Education – see  But recent discussions with other educators and administrators made me realize that the idea of maker education is often vague and seems unrealistic in terms of regular classroom instruction.  As such, in the future, I am going to associate and discuss Maker Education in the context S.T.E.A.M. – science, technology, engineering, arts (including language arts), math, hopefully, encouraging regular classroom teachers to integrate maker education projects into their classrooms.

What follows are some resources and articles I compiled to provide educators as part of this discussion.

2014-06-03_1522Link to Thinglink that contains links to the following resources –

Pivot Point: At the Crossroads of STEM, STEAM and Arts Integration from Edutopia,
retrieved from

STEAM is an approach which uses STEM and the arts to foster learning that is both skill- and process-based. STEAM brings together the critical components of how and what, and laces them together with why. Think of STEAM as teaching through integrated network hubs where information is curated, shared, explored and molded into new ways of seeing and being through collaborative risk taking and creativity. This means that students are using the skills and processes learned in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics to think deeply, ask non-Googleable questions and solve problems.

STEAM Blends Science and the Arts in Public Education from The Wall Street Journal, retrieved from

The technology kids have now is the worst technology they’re ever going to have in their hands so we need to give them opportunities to take things apart and put them back together in connection to solving problems in the world.

STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education from the PBS Newshour, retrieved from

If we think historically about how that has always been a part of learning, why would we stop it? Why would we deny our children that which will allow them to really contribute significantly in the future?  It’s not only learning from root, it’s really understanding through their bodies, through their thinking, creativity and how they apply the knowledge.

Arts education helps Americans compete in the global economy. Part of what the arts certainly provides is the creativity and innovation, which is really fundamental in how many other countries are looking at success. Actually in the U.S., how we want to measure success is in terms of how to be creative, how to be innovative.

Gaining STEAM: Teaching Science Through Art from U.S. News, retrieved from

Across the country, teachers and administrators are coming to a similar conclusion: art informs science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and vice versa. Consequently, they are pioneering new methods of teaching that combine disciplines which have been isolated from one another under traditional educational models.  The way we get an innovative workforce is to make sure that we have creative and critical thinkers coming through our schools.  Incorporating art into STEM disciplines is a way to cultivate the minds needed for the knowledge economy.

STEAM: Adding art to STEM education from The District Administrator, retrieved from

STEAM enables schools to instill a collaborative culture, with lessons and courses that recognize individual course content often complements multiple areas of study. Students encounter this overlapping content often without recognizing the connections.  Educators are realizing that STEAM learning—throughout K20—is increasingly important in educating the student population to be ready for whatever college or career might bring.

STEM to STEAM: Art in K-12 is Key to Building a Strong Economy from Edutopia, retrieved from

With global competition rising, America is at a critical juncture in defining its economic future. I believe that art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century in the same way that science and technology did in the last century, and the STEAM movement is an opportunity for America to sustain its role as innovator of the world.

Kids Unite Art and Science and Create a World of Wonder from the Imagination Foundation, retrieved from

STEAM connects the different subjects together in the way they would relate to the business world and to each other.

What is the Maker Movement and why all the recent buzz in Education? from Little Bits, retrieved from

For many educators, Making locates its familiar counterpoint in the block area of the early childhood classroom, the hot pot on the classroom desk where Stone Soup is being heated and stirred, the woodworking bench with its array of familiar tools, art class, computer class, backstage where the high school crew is building the set for the school play—Making happens any time students use technology to make something. The Maker Movement of the 21st C is all about modern invention and innovation, and it combines new technologies into the mix to include open hardware (like littleBits,) computing platforms and programming tools (like Arduino,) and tools like laser cutters and 3D printers alongside say—a sewing machine.

Engaging Students in the STEM Classroom Through “Making” from Edutopia, retrieved from

At a time when many people are asking how we can get more students interested in STEM fields, we are hearing from teachers who have found making to be a great way to get students excited and engaged in their classrooms. We are seeing making occurring in subject classes such as math or science — in classes specifically listed as maker classes — and in a variety of less formal settings such as clubs and study halls. Many of these projects incorporate a variety of STEM topics. Students working on designing and building furniture for their classroom use algebra and geometry to figure out the dimensions. E-textiles and soft circuitry, in which circuits are sewn using conductive thread or fabric, have shown to be an engaging way to teach electronics and programming, especially for young women. The possibilities for ways to incorporate making into the school day are endless, and it is exciting to see what teachers have been developing and sharing.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

June 3, 2014 at 11:12 pm

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on 3_E_Learning and commented:
    Most often we can lose our way in making decisions that encourage growth versus making decisions that restrict growth. Comprehension, critical thinking, and problem solving are all life’s tools for learning. When we do it creatively we inspire, innovate, and imagine. That is what S.T.E.A.M. can do.

    Rhonda Doyle

    June 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

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