Agency by Design

Educational initiatives that emphasize making, design, engineering, and tinkering have been gaining traction in schools and organizations across the country. While maker-centered learning is not a new concept, recent and emerging trends suggest a new kind of hands-on pedagogy—a responsive and flexible pedagogy that encourages community and collaboration (a do-it-together mentality), distributed teaching and learning, and crossing boundaries.

Agency by Design (AbD) is a multiyear research initiative at Project Zero investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences.

The Framework
Resources
thinking routines“换位思考”的思考模式 (简体版)

“换位思考”的思考模式 (简体版)

这个思考模式鼓励学生在一个特定的系统里思考不同人物的观点。其目标是帮助学生理解系统里的不同角色,他们会用什么形式去表达感受以及对系统里其他人物和事物的关心。

activities and practicesCritical Sensitivity to Design Questions

Critical Sensitivity to Design Questions

A set of questions for students and educators that support critical inquiry and awareness when approaching human-designed objects and systems.

Field NoteMaker Empowerment: A Concept Under Construction

Maker Empowerment: A Concept Under Construction

Agency by Designer project Director Shari Tishman introduces the concept of “maker empowerment” as a potential outcome of maker learning experiences.

documentation and assessment toolsAbD Framework: A Guide for Learners

AbD Framework: A Guide for Learners

A resource for learners to explore the ways you can use the Agency by Design Framework and Making Moves/Indicators.

Field NoteExploring the Role of the Arts in Maker-Centered Learning Experiences

Exploring the Role of the Arts in Maker-Centered Learning Experiences

Participants at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum consider the role of the arts in maker-centered learning experiences.

Field NoteExploring Complexity in Qualitative Research: Designing a System for Collaborative Analysis

Exploring Complexity in Qualitative Research: Designing a System for Collaborative Analysis

Agency by Design research assistant Sarah May explores the complex nature of working with qualitative data based on her experiences collaboratively coding and analyzing AbD’s interview transcripts.

Field NoteTaking Apart to Build Stories of Change

Taking Apart to Build Stories of Change

This piece is based on a workshop titled “Taking Apart Racism: Using Maker-Centered Practices to Break Down Systems of Oppression,” led by Jaime Chao Mignano and Mark Perkins at the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (PoCC).

Like a lot of educators, I want my students to be empowered to impact the world around them. I want them to have social and political agency in a sense that is perfectly aligned with what Agency by Design means by agency—that is, skills and tools in combination with intention and impulse to action. When I task my students with dismantling systems of oppression, how do they know what that means? Do they feel ready to enact it? And how can I be a support?

This was the seed of a workshop for this year’s National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (PoCC), a gathering of thousands of educators from around the United States to explore ideas and share experiences around equity and justice in our schools and lives. My colleague, Mark Perkins (Media and Theater Coordinator), and I wondered what insights we could offer by putting Take Apart practice in service to racial justice education. I was nervous to try to build under the conference throughline “Anti-Racist Teaching Tools” - the stakes felt so high. We had an inkling, though, that combining the enthusiastic engine of taking stuff apart with the resonant act of creating stories that reimagine existing narratives of power could be an important experiment.

Mark and I built a workshop we call “Taking Apart Racism: Using Maker-Centered Practices to Break Down Systems of Oppression.” The heart of the workshop is the idea that looking closely and exploring the complexity of an object can create a bridge of metaphor that helps us understand a system of racial oppression.  If we build the connection between these two systems—the system of the object and the system of oppression—then we can see the oppressive system in a new light and probe new possibilities.

thinking routinesPartes, Propósitos, Complejidades

Partes, Propósitos, Complejidades

Esta rutina de pensamiento ayuda a los estudiantes a ir lentamente y observar detallada y cuidadosamente, al animarlos a mirar más allá de las características obvias de un objeto o sistema. Esta rutina de pensamiento estimula la curiosidad, plantea preguntas y hace evidente otras áreas para continuar la investigación.