Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Narjis Hyder

Abstract

Experts describe maker education as activities relating to the construction of artifacts that encourage learning through teamwork, problem-solving, and innovation. Teachers in recent years have been turning to maker-centered learning strategies to develop 21st century skills along with emphasizing strong content knowledge focusing on creation and creativity. Previous maker-based learning research focused primarily on the technology and tools associated with these activities; however, little research exists on the teachers’ involvement with these learning strategies. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of teachers currently using maker-centered learning strategies as an instructional practice in grade 5–12 classrooms. Based on the idea of constructing knowledge through active learning, the conceptual framework for this research encompasses multiple learning theories including constructionism, constructivism, experiential learning, and cooperative learning. The research examined the motivation of teachers’ using maker-centered learning strategies and the challenges and benefits they have experienced. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and written lived experience descriptions from seven teachers currently using maker-based learning in their classrooms and analyzed using InVivo coding. The participants described their experiences as facilitators in student-centered classrooms that focus on collaboration and learning through failure. Time and assessment are common challenges while increased student engagement and student social and academic growth are common benefits. Experts maintain that maker-centered learning improves 21st century skills and prepares students for success in college, careers, and lifelong learning opportunities.

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