Log in

Maker culture, is it really all that new?

Started by Tessa Gray 05 Nov 2015 10:11am () Replies (10)

Let’s take a quick tour of the web and find out more...


Question/answerQuestion: What is Maker Culture (sometimes called maker space, maker movement)?



The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture which is less concerned with physical objects (opposed to software) and the creation of new devices (opposed to tinkering with existing ones). Wikipedia

Question/answerQuestion: Why is this a trend?



In Core's Ten Trends 2015: Maker Culture: Mark Osborne explains this well...

EDtalks Ten Trends 2014 - Design thinking from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Question/answerQuestion: What does this mean for education?


So the technology is widely available and affordable to allow our kids to build things that solve real-world problems in their lives. But the maker movement is as much about culture as it is about stuff. Maker movement inspiration Quinn Norton describes makerspaces as ‘temporary autonomous zones’ and advocates for schools to have them. For her, the makerspace is about helping kids (and adults) learn to be okay with having no formal organisational hierarchy: working alongside a range of other people with no clearly designated power structure to get the job done. As Norton says “Learning how to navigate these autonomous groupings is a key skill for people who are going to be working on projects that are not going to be managed from the top down.” The maker movement is about who holds the power.” Taken from Ten Trends 2015: Maker Culture

Question/answerQuestion: What can this look like?



In following Edtalks on Maker Culture, Kim Baars describes the learning taking place in Maker classes at Taupaki School. Kim talks about teachers and students working together in collaborative problem-solving,and the powerful differentiation taking place in the makerspace. It is ‘learning by doing’ in a way that is controlled by the students, and it can be as complex or varied, simple or difficult as the learner wants or needs it to be.


Maker Culture from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Question/answerQuestion: Who is teaching this way in New Zealand?



Check out the following webinar recording from GEG (Google Educator Group) NZ Spotlight - Maker Culture webinar recording with teachers Kim Baars, Bridget McKendry, Liz Fairhall and their students.


Follow and join in with the associated Twitter feeds.


Question: Who’s talking about maker culture in New Zealand?



A variety of New Zealand teachers in Twitter via #LibChatNZ Chat Archive on Maker Space (3 August 2015) as well as #scichatNZ Chris Clay NZ (August 4 2015)

Question/answerQuestion: What questions might we ask?



  • What do we need to consider in order to create a maker culture (culture, space, understandings, resources)?

  • What does non-hierarchical, experiential learning look like?

  • Are the students learning about purpose and technological decision making?

  • What are the benefits of students when working in this way?

What are your Question and Answers? Feel free to respond in the comment section below or:


Come join Leanne Stubbing (Kelburn Normal School and presenter in our last unconference webinar) and Nicki Tempero (LwDT facilitator) as they talk about the philosophy that's driving their creative, problem solving learning activities in their schools. We'd also love to hear your experiences with 'tinkering', 'maker space' or the 'maker movement'. Hosted in Adobe Connect. REGISTER NOW!


Question/answerQuestion: Where else can I find out about Maker culture?





  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 12 Nov 2015 9:45am ()

    Yesterday was a well-paced, informative and interactive session with Nicki and Leanne about the why, how and what of the 'maker movement'. Lots of food for thought and still some wonderings around: curiosity/exploratory play/discovery learning and the role of the teacher and curriculum.


    The idea that we can pull things apart, discover how they work, make inferences and trial new ideas; demonstrates an understanding of how we learn best and shows strong connections to Science and  Technology, while aspects of creativity and authentic problem solving remind us that the Key Competencies are at the heart of the maker movement in the classroom.


    There is still food for thought regarding barriers to implementing 'organised chaos' like this in the classroom as some of the participants shared during the webinar.


    For the full recording, view in Adobe Connect.


    The presentation can be viewed hereTwitter feeds also make references throughout this event.



    What do you see are the successes, barriers or solutions to implementing maker spaces in your school? 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 16 Nov 2015 10:40am ()

    Timing couldn't be better! Here's a link to Derek Wenmoth's blog on Makerspaces (7 September) with references to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and:

    "...the release of a document fromMakerEd titled MakerSpaces – Highlights of Select Literature (PDF download). This review looks at a selection of the latest discourse and thinking emerging from the growth of makerspaces and their developing roles in education and communities."


    What do the Science, Maths, Technology and Engineering enthusiasts think of this movement?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 5:08pm ()

    Gever Tulley shares a Tedtalks (1,021,328 views) on, Life lessons through tinkering - a time/place where kids are given tools, materials and guidance, to let their imaginations run wild, ‘where creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a roller coaster!’

    These children aren’t learning anything specific, the biggest learning comes where, “success is in the doing and failures are celebrated and analysed.” Learning through tinkering, building, problem solving enables kids to be, “hands on, fully immersed deeply committed to the task at hand.”  

  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2015 8:58pm ()

    Hi Tessa

    You have inspired me today with your incentive challenge.  I also spent time on Twitter tonight and discovered this wee gem from Edutopia - Making Makerspace - Top 20 Tools.  Might be worth a look for those considering where to start and what is important that adds to the great resources already here.

    Vicki H

  • Robyn Sinclair (View all users posts) 20 Jan 2016 3:59pm ()

    Our school has been given the opportunity to modernise our computer lab beside the library and we can't wait to develop it into a dedicated makerspace. I have been reading around the area of maker mindset and the environment and I am inspired by Steven Kurti, Debby Kurti and Laura Fleming's articles, Part 1, 2 and 3 of Making an Educational Makerspace.  As it always has been, it is not about the tools but about a change in mindset where both the teachers and students value playfulness, curiosity and celebrate both failure and innovation. It is about creating an environment where the student takes charge and are supported by with more questions than answers. The availability and affordability of new technologies to schools has the potential to provide students with the kinds of experiences that enhance the maker mindset and change the view of themselves as real world problem solvers, being able to design and build real-life objects. I know it is not about the tools but we can't wait to have a play with 3D printers!

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 21 Jan 2016 5:52pm ()

    Thanks Robyn for sharing this resource, like Kaye, I've enjoyed read too. I liked the phases of a good maker project: begin with an idea, observe and plan, jump straight into trying things, and tinker with it until it works well and the nudge not to overthink things too much and become more hands-off, so our students can have more ownership and input. 

    Sounds scary for some of us teachers who like to be 'prepared' for our students' learning needs...

  • Kaye Gillies (View all users posts) 20 Jan 2016 5:42pm ()

    Robyn I thoroughly enjoyed reading the documents you attached and can see why you find them inspirational.

    I would be interested in knowing if anyone has tried the low key option of lego or similar construction sets in the library (as mentioned in part 3 of the article) and how successful this has been.   I'm curious to know if in a primary school careful questions  and prompting can guide students to continue creating and perhaps away from building  then wanting to play eg.shooting guns or driving cars in the quieter library environment.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 27 Jan 2016 1:37pm ()

    Ever heard a banana 'meow' or played as a note on a keyboard? The kids at Codebrite school this week have. 

    Codebrite Tauranga

    The room looked like the vibrant, organanised chaos that is a good makerspace. Children (yr4-8) have been making board games linked to Makey Makey (circuitry invention) kits programmed in Scratch. The possibilities for students to get creative, problem solve, learn algebra, simple circuitry and coding is endless. For more on how this works, watch this Youtube clip.

    In this latest video from Enabling e-Learning, Using Scratch for learning, Halswell School student, Callum, and his teacher, Fraser Malins explain how Scratch supports student learning with creativity, logical thinking, and problem solving. 

    For more on using Makey Makey go to http://www.makeymakey.com/

    Thank you Sandy Bornholdt and Pascale Hyboud-Peron 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2018 3:28pm ()

    As part of Enabling e-Learning's future focused series, we've got some fantastic resources developed by schools who are designing and creating exciting, authentic learning opportunities where students are developing important skills such as: problem solving, creativity, collaboration, team building, and most importantly, learning to fail! 

    Authentic learning in a makerspace at Taupaki School

    Over the next few weeks and months we're going to highlight some innovative examples in schools, where students are gaining practical hands-on experiences with new technologies and innovative processes to design and build projects (What are Makerspaces Enabling e-Learning). We'll shine a light on some creative Makerspaces, where authentic learning tasks naturally integrate areas of the curriculum - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths (STEAM, sometimes STEM) - in terms of design, implementation and assessment.

    Several schools are forging ahead in this area - you might like to touch base with their stories and themselves...

    In this snapshot of learning, the year 7 and 8 teaching team at Marshland School share (through spirals of inquiry) how they have developed a Makerspace to increase engagement and enable successful learning for their priority learners.

    Starting a makerspace at Taupaki School

    With a new emphasis on learning about Digital Technologies (Computational Thinking and Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes, we can see that Progress Outcome 2 for DDDO reads, 

    In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students make decisions about creating, manipulating, storing, retrieving, sharing, and testing digital content for a specific purpose, given particular parameters, tools, and techniques. They understand that digital devices impact on humans and society and that both the devices and their impact change over time.

    Students identify the specific role of components in a simple input-process-output system and how they work together, and they recognise the "control role” that humans have in the system. They can select from an increasing range of applications and file types to develop outcomes for particular purposes.

    Technology Online has published some snapshots and exemplars that help to illustrate how students can understand how Digital Technologies are designed and created by humans to respond to a need (PO2). You can also see examples of older students are responding to need here and in Technology Online: DDDO Progess outcome 6.

    Starting out or want to know more? Also see:


    Taupaki School videos in Enabling e-Learning:

    The Grass Roots Ideas initiative: Helping schools better understand how to use Digital Technologies to enhance teaching and learning.

    We'd love to hear how your students are tinkering in the arts, maths or science or maybe creating solutions to human problems using Digital Technologies? Why not share a photo or short story of your master creators below?

    Or equally, feel free to ask any questions you might have about practical aspects of setting up and teaching in makerspaces or STEAM.

Join this group to contribute to discussions.