A couple years ago, I was on a panel for the MacArthur Foundation on the future of games and schools. One of the big questions was how games would be integrating and I found the answer of “systems-based thinking” to be convincing. In large part, this philosophy teaches that creation and collaboration will be skills for the 21st century.
Dale Dougherty continues that line, arguing that kids should be making robots instead of taking tests. He argues:
“Learning by doing” was the distillation of the learning philosophy of John Dewey. He wrote: “The school must represent present life—life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.” He also wrote that “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
The maker movement has the opportunity to transform education by inviting students to be something other than consumers of education. They can become makers and creators of their own educational lives, moving from being directed to do something to becoming self-directed and independent learners. Increasingly, they can take advantage of new tools for creative expression and for exploring the real world around them. They can be active participants in constructing a new kind of education for the 21st-century, which will promote the creativity and critical thinking we say we value in people like Steve Jobs.