What do you think of Obama's Maker Ed initiatives?!

President Obama wowed us today with an announcement at SXSW of the Maker Promise Initiative and the TechHire Initiative, both aimed at getting more students making in schools and more teachers including making as part of their instruction.

Here’s what I’m feeling at the moment:

Making as an pedagogical imperative in our schools is long over due. It is the easiest way to build a student-centered environment around active, hands-on learning. Speaking of, loving this article with three simple rules to remember, especially “learning is a change process, not a content-delivery process.”

What do you think about this news? Like, dislike? Think it will stick? Looking at some of my active edu folks @tinytreasures1 @kknight @conniechowpetit @Thingfully :smile:

US government support of “making” sounds great. I teach in college, and advise clubs where making is the prime activity (our Astronomy club is building a radio telescope to monitor storm activity on Jupiter, for example.) We use Arduinos, Mindstorms, and a bunch of other technologies, including a handfull of littleBits. If this leads to better funding and an easier path to integrate ‘appropriate technology’ into our programs, then great - I’m as happy as LouisCK in in your gif.

However I am not a fan of unfunded initiatives. What I’m afraid of, is that an administrator somewhere up the chain will mandate that a ‘making’ element be included in curricula, with little thought other than to include the word “make” in the course description.

@chris101 I totally agree with you. I was speaking with an educator I really admire today and while we didn’t touch on initiatives specifically, the bulk of our conversation center on the importance situating this movement in an aligned pedagogical framework. We discussed Papert, constructionism, and the importance of ideas, curiosity, and exploration guiding the learning.

Where I think these could fail (and where I have seen it before) is when they are not contextualized. Making should be driven by big ideas, by curiosity. It’s not just the tools you use - it’s how you use them.

What are others thoughts?