Everyone Can Be a Maker These Days

Common Sense Media announced a new report, based on a survey with 2600 tweens and teens, that they say depicts the current state of media usage in the United States. Among their findings are several which are likely troubling to one or another of us:

“Low-income kids lack access. Children growing up in lower-income homes are far less likely to have access to computers, tablets, and smartphones than their wealthier peers, but when they do have access, they are more likely to spend more time on their devices….

Social media use is big, but maybe not very enjoyable. Social media is an integral part of most teens’ lives (45% use “every day”), but only 36% of teens say they enjoy using social media “a lot” compared to 73% who enjoy listening to music “a lot,” and 45% watching TV.

Everyone can be a maker, but not many are. The vast majority of children’s engagement with media consists of consuming media, with only a small portion devoted to creating content.”

See more at: Henry Jenkins, The Conversation Never Ends. Participatory Culture in a Networked Era. 

Everyone can be a maker, but not many are.

This discussion between the authors of the book focusses primarily on digital tools and social media. It’s about how access is distributed and what young people use social media for the balance between consumption and creation.

The parallels with education in general  and with making are strong. If you think of literacy as a ladder – see The Literacy Ladder- What rung are you on?  or indeed of Bloom’s taxonomy – you see various  levels of intellectual and practical engagement.

Seems to me that our job in schools (or at least one of them) is to have every student have access to the tools and that we should want them to know how to engage at the highest levels of participation and creation. And in schools that probably starts with creating and making in a real world, face-to-face social activity.

Schools have a unique opportunity to help students find the problem solving purpose through which to express and grow their knowledge and abilities.

Bloom’s original taxonomy from 1956 was revised in 2001.

The revised taxonomy moved on from the rather static notion of educational objectives of the original. The language shifts to the active using verbs and gerunds to describe the active cognitive processes of thinkers and makers as they encounter, engage and work with knowledge.

In the revised version the authors created a separate taxonomy of the types of knowledge used in cognition:

  • Factual Knowledge
    • Knowledge of terminology
    • Knowledge of specific details and elements
  • Conceptual Knowledge
    • Knowledge of classifications and categories
    • Knowledge of principles and generalizations
    • Knowledge of theories, models, and structures
  • Procedural Knowledge
    • Knowledge of subject-specific skills and algorithms
    • Knowledge of subject-specific techniques and methods
    • Knowledge of criteria for determining when to use appropriate procedures
  • Metacognitive Knowledge
    • Strategic Knowledge
    • Knowledge about cognitive tasks, including appropriate contextual and conditional knowledge
    • Self-knowledge

Ok. So what does that look like in classrooms or the learning environment?  how do we accelerate the trip up the ladder and help learners climb the pyramid?   

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