The idea of the maker mindset is that students develop creative confidence and a sense of agency — that they have the ability to creatively solve problems on their own and with their peers. The value of maker-centered learning is that it teaches students both hard skills and soft skills. The Maker Mindset is developed when a child learns in a maker-centered way, which integrates different subjects and gives the child a holistic view. When a child learns this way, the following things happen
1. Their learning goes beyond books
Children who have a maker mindset learn from making and building things. Their knowledge comes from practical examples and projects and goes beyond the rote learning from books.
For example, I remember we learnt that light travels in straight lines by drawing neat, straight lines with arrows in our books. We might have even held a convex or concave lens in our hands to feel it. Maker kids learn light by playing with light. They observe the behavior of light with a torch and as many objects as needed and in this setting, they're curious to learn more, and their learning is more real.
2. They are more confident
All kids are creative, but somehow, we are discouraged from expressing that creativity. We're encouraged to follow rules, and mug up answers. This gives us knowledge, sure, but not confidence.
Kids who have developed a maker mindset have many projects under their belt already, giving them confidence that you won't see in other children. I have a student who did a density experiment with sugar, and then immediately tried the same with salt, to observe the differences. The way this kid has learnt about a concept is very different from the way a kid learnt by reading, and that shows in their confidence.
3. They develop grit
Watch a maker kid in the middle of a project to see what I'm talking about. They are not disheartened if something doesn't work or if things fall apart halfway. They have the grit to pick up from failed attempts and keep going till the project gets done.
I've had kids in my class try hard for over an hour to get something working, and come up with different ideas to figure out why something went wrong. This type of learning prepares kids for real life.
Like artists, they (makers) are motivated by internal goals, not extrinsic rewards." - Dale Dougherty, Make.
4. They are great at collaboration
Because kids with maker mindsets love to build solutions and bring their ideas to life, they know that they are not experts at everything. They know when to ask for help, and whom to ask. They constantly do projects bigger than themselves, by bringing people together and collaborating.
5. They have more empathy
Maker kids have built projects and faced failure, and grown from it. As a result of this, they have more empathy towards people around them, and people that are different from them.
I get kids in my class that will finish their project quickly and move on to helping their peers. They solve their peers' problems through a lively discussion and it's truly wonderful to see.
A Maker Mindset equips the child with the tools needed to lead a fulfilling life, in which learning leads the way.