Welcome to the ‘MakerEdLeeds’ official blog. MakerEdLeeds is a small research study funded by the Society for Educational Studies (SES). As the name (hopefully) suggests, the project is concerned with ‘maker education’ and, more precisely, with how the maker movement is impacting on the cultures and practices of formal education. I am Carlo and I am the project coordinator. Assisting me in the task of ‘making sense of making’ is Claire, who knows much more about coding, fabrication and hacking than I do. To be totally honest I am rather ignorant about designing technology and engineering practices. I am (full disclosure) a social researcher, mainly interested in how this ‘movement’ is being talked about and how it became an ‘educational thing’. Something directly and indirectly shaping curricula and driving investment in hackables, wearables, programmables, microcontrollers and credit-card sized computers. Mostly however I am interested in how regular, non-tech savvy English students and teachers understand ‘maker education’, and where they place it in relation to other interests, commitments and to the barrage of expectations and social pressures competing for their precious time and attention spans.
We are working with two secondary schools in Leeds (Swallow Hill Community College and Carr Manor Community School), running sessions with Y8 and Y9 students, and involving teachers as observers and researchers. This blog’s purpose is to document the project as it progresses until its scheduled conclusion in the summer of 2016. The project officially started in September, and since then we have been busy refining the overall approach and method and examining our own assumptions about maker education. We have also run a few sessions with students and interviewed some teachers, and we now feel more confident about sharing some of the things we are learning. Enjoy… and please leave (constructive) feedback in the comments section!