Why Making

Agency and Sensitivity to Design

Agency. Ownership. What do these words mean? Agency by Design, a Harvard-based research group that looks at maker-centered learning, describes agency as “the sensitivity to the designed dimension of objects and systems, along with the inclination and capacity to shape one’s world through building, tinkering, re/designing, or hacking.”

In the book Maker Centered Learning, Agency by Design notes that students can develop agency when they take part in three practices:

  1. Looking closely
  2. Finding opportunity
  3. Exploring complexity.  

Making and thinking routines incorporate these practices, enabling students to become more sensitive to the shaped world around them and to their own ability to impact that world.

 

Constructionism

Construction that takes place “in the head” often happens especially felicitously when it is supported by construction of a more public sort “in the world” — a sand castle or a cake, a Lego house or a corporation, a computer program, a poem, or a theory of the universe. Part of what I mean by “in the world” is that the product can be shown, discussed, examined, probed, and admired. It is out there…”- Seymour Pappert, 1994

Constructionism is a theory that describes how students learn. Specifically, constructionism states that students learn through active engagement and experience by creating a product that can be publicly shared and critiqued. At Lighthouse Community Public Schools, the Creativity Lab collaborates with educators to find moments in the curriculum where making supports deeper learning. Learn more about constructionism and Papert.