Maker Education, Making Future - As the Center of K-12 Makers
Teaching is quite challenging for school teachers in Taiwan. The major challenges may include learners’ diverse entry level, unmotivated learners and more than one third of low achievers in the real classroom. Also, according to a comprehensive survey on learning ability, implemented by CommonWealth magazine (天下雜誌) in March 2012, a total of 4,386 junior high students and 994 teachers were investigated. The findings showed that more than half of the students perceived themselves unmotivated in learning and 80 percent of the teachers reported that 60 percent of the students seemed unmotivated in learning. An urgent call for innovative teaching is raised. Maker Education may be a solution to trigger students’ learning at school. It has caught teachers’ attention since 2005.
The nature of Maker Education embraces the concept of ‘learning by doing,’ which was first proposed by John Dewey in 1916. It did not function well at that time. However, with the help of new tools such as 3D printer, robotics, microprocessors and many smart materials, many ideas can be put into practice. Taiwan was once as the world factory and won the reputation of MIT, made in Taiwan, which laid a solid foundation for maker education especially for New Taipei City. The city owns the most factories around Taiwan. With the rich resources, it makes it possible to make maker education more complete.
In 2015, the Education Department of New Taipei City launched the Maker Education starting from 5 senior high schools and one elementary school. Later a comprehensive K-12 Maker Classrooms will be built gradually covering from elementary schools to middle schools. Through the curriculum design, more task-based or problem-solving based projects can be done through the Maker Education.
There are different goals for each phrase of learning. In elementary schools, the Maker Education emphasizes on the engagement of hands-on activities and encourages the students to integrate technology information and equipment to their learning by doing. Through task-based and problem-solving activities, the students may be more creative in thinking and cooperation-oriented with their teammates.
In the middle school stage, more in-depth qualities are required through design thinking and gradually combine students’ interests and career plans with the Maker Education. It is hoped that students can be imprinted the nature of Maker Education such as its individualized quality which may meet the need of the students’ diverse abilities. Also, its real life experience may motivate students’ interests in doing the projects and its large amount of practice may lead students to be a real maker and develop their overall competence combined with their future career. New Taipei City Government values education much. With the innovative Maker Education, more Steve Jobs or Bill Gates can be seen in the near future.