Creativity isn’t a garnish

Maker education is more than just making things or gaining skills for making. This is especially true as you get past the superficial, easy project level. Kids can also be learning about themselves and their strengths.

Most classrooms are set up so that all students are on the same project at the same time. This was a necessary evil in an analog world. We now live in an amazing, digital world, with 1-1 classrooms and endless resources online. It is possible for kids to be working on many different projects at the same time in the same classroom. They can have a choice about what and how they create.

Unfortunately, personal autonomy and independent learning is an underdeveloped muscle for most students.

This is our fault.  I remember trying to build creativity into my science project guidelines. At the time I wondered why so few students jumped at the chance to be creative or to customize their projects. Now I know – I was the one choosing the project, the content, and everything else about that project. The creativity was a minor aspect, sprinkled on top, like a sweet garnish to a dish that kids do not want it in the first place. They still didn’t like it.

Not every student has to have the exact same projects or experiences as a part of their education. Maybe someday that’ll be the hallmark of a poor education.

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