Maker Education: Where Is the Knowledge Construction?

Author: Valente, J. & Blikstein, P.
Year: 2019
Project: Maker Education
Type: Journal Paper
Conference/Journal: Constructivist Foundations

Valente J. A. & Blikstein P. (2019) Maker education: Where is the knowledge construction? Constructivist Foundations 14(3): 252–262.


Context • The construction of a product is fundamental. However, students’ having produced something is not enough to ensure that they have constructed knowledge. > Problem • The objective of this article is to understand how maker education can contribute to the process of students’ knowledge construction. Method • Initially we discuss aspects related to the theory of constructionism, subsequently, using Piaget’s notions of conceptualization, we discuss how knowledge can be constructed in a makerspace, then turn to a case study that illustrates our theoretical
commentary, and end with conclusions about our main research question: “Where is the knowledge construction in making?” > Results • We show that in makerspaces students can develop sophisticated artifacts by using digital technologies, and that besides the product, this process allows for the representation of the actions with these machines, expressed as concepts and strategies used. > Implications • The action representation constitutes the “window into the mind” of the learner, allowing one to understand and identify the knowledge used and, with that,
help the learner reach a new stage in knowledge construction. However, in order to know whether the student has constructed knowledge, the teacher can use different strategies, such as Piaget’s clinical method, analysis of results gathered throughout product testing, and use of simulation software related to concepts involved in the maker activity. > Constructivist content • The discussion in this article is based on Papert’s constructionist ideas. However, we use Piaget’s distinction between success and understanding to discuss how knowledge can be constructed by students in makerspaces. > Key words • Makerspaces, fabrication technologies, constructionism, knowledge evaluation.