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Education

Maker Education Revolution free to read now 

 February 10, 2022

By  Peter

I wrote “Maker Education Revolution” in 2017 because I needed to organize my thoughts about Education in a time of accelerating technological sophistication and sweeping social change.

I have been in Education in many different roles for practically all of my life. I have been a student since kindergarten. I went through primary and secondary school in the 80s. I was a university student in the 90s and much of the noughts. I was a lecturer and instructor for almost 15 years since the turn of the century. For much of the years 2000 to 2010, I was both an instructor and a student.

By 2013 I became disillusioned by the institutionalized-industrialized education methods that I was familiar with throughout these decades. I felt that these methods may have been suitable at a time (19th and 20th century) when societies needed to enable millions of people in the industrializing cities of the world to read, write and calculate well enough to be able to get a job at a factory.

My teaching consisted of repeating the same information into the brains of every new cohort of students, year after year. Much of my duties involved “grading” students in standardized tests. Management evaluated my teaching was performance based on how well my students did in those same tests. For the student, success meant passing a subject with a good mark. Success for me meant having a student cohort with grades that neatly fell on the infamous bell curve.

Up to the time I quit, my university teaching was optimized for the throughput of students through the cookie-cutter higher education system. There was little room for creativity, improvisation and the pursuit and creation of knowledge. Failure was (is) taboo and “bad” instead of an opportunity to learn.

But could this cookie-cutter approach to mass education help modern societies, and the people within them, to deal with the challenges that people must deal with today or tomorrow? Are today’s children’s present and future needs equipped with iPads and access to all of the human knowledge on the Internet, the same as mine in the 1980s, when I had access to a single textbook per subject?

I decided to explore this question.

As an engineer and a self-proclaimed technology and science “geek“, I was intuitively familiar with the concept of Education as an expression of one’s curiosity to understand how the world works. I always found it strange how the school would coarse me to learn stuff that I needed to pass an exam but had little or no interest to me. Thanks to the industrial school system, I struggled to find the time to explore things that interested me. I struggled to find time to explore the things that actually give people the opportunity to discover themselves and grow as individuals.

So, I started my exploration.

What is the essence of Education in the 21st century?

What, in my opinion, should it be like?

Why?

And, what are the foundations on which such Education can be built?

This exploration resulted in a book, “Maker Education Revolution”.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of this book, where I explain why I wrote it:

I decided to write this book because I was convinced that there is a better way to learn and to teach. Just like engineers succeeded in creating flat screen TVs, and improved computers and networks to the extent that we no longer need video cassette players and recorders, I was convinced that there were educators who had solved the problems that I mentioned earlier. Educators who realised that learning does not need to be painful, that children with different learning needs can be cared for. I was convinced that there are educators who can help in creating an educational system that instils its students with the qualities that we want to see in a happy and successful individual rather than the specific bits of knowledge that they need.

My conviction was not arbitrary. I had spent the last 15 years as an educator myself. First as a University lecturer, and now as an online instructor. I witnessed both the limitations of traditional education as well as the potential of Maker-style education when combined with modern educational technology. My conviction is that after the pain of the past, we are now entering a golden age of education. An age in which education is better aligned with its real purpose of helping to shape happy and creative individuals. An education that helps the learner to learn how to think critically, solve problems independently but in collaboration.

An education that helps people to think like a scientist and implement like an engineer.

Technology plays a huge role in this education. I have visited high schools where I could see the effect that technology has on the quality of learning that student can achieve. Imagine four or five teenage students gathered around a wheeled robot. They are making the final preparations ahead of a yearly robot competition. They are each working on a particular subsystem, but they all understand how the robot works as a system. There’s always one student that goes deeper than everyone else. He or she does the troubleshooting, can move wires around before anyone knows what’s happening, does the last code modifications for an instant performance improvement. And guess what she wants to do? Become an engineer.

I wrote this book because I had to. I needed to organise my thoughts around what a modern educational system should look like. I wrote it so that I can systematise the elements that can help my children, with their special learning requirements, not just cope but to thrive in a world full of opportunities of any kind, but especially learning opportunities. I wrote it for my young self, struggling to keep my love for learning and curiosity alive.

I wrote it for teachers who are dedicated to creating awesome learning experiences for their students. For parents who care not just about their children’s academic achievements, but also for their overall development as happy and creative individuals with their own unique set of passions and curiosities. I wrote it for the learners themselves, who are perhaps discouraged by their experiences in school and wonder if there is another way. I sincerely hope that this book will help you change your view of what modern education should look like. Because with every successful learning, there is change.

I have now decided to open this book to everyone that wants to read it.

I hope that with this book, I can help everyone, teachers and learners, better understand the richness of educational methodologies, tools, and objectives available to us today.


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