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My Challenge to You... Go Make Something!

Having just returned from the MACUL conference, I was struck by the number of educators who don't identify themselves as makers.  A maker by definition is "a person or thing that makes or produces something." (Google) It seems to me that by that definition that all humans are makers.

Perhaps the reason that many of the educators that I met at the MACUL conference don't identify as makers is that they have had the creative spirit educated out of them. This theory is based on an amazing TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson. (Included below)

To summarize he posits that schools educate students into compliance which defeats the creative ability of kids.  Do you agree with this statement?  In an environment based on standardized testing and high stakes performance is there time to be creative?

The maker movement is catching fire nationwide and I believe it is a direct response to try to counteract the loss of creativity. Students should be empowered to be creative in their daily classwork and be allowed to innovate (which presents a low stakes chance to fail) to put their mark on the way they learn.  As an educator, you have the unique opportunity to empower your students to change the world. Notice I said empower, not force.  It is imperative that you embrace the same mindset as the students if you are going to shift the paradigm in your classroom.  In other words, go make something awesome, perhaps you fail or perhaps you succeed, but you will learn something from the experience regardless of the outcome.

If you need some inspiration to get started come check out the FREE Classroom Makers Summit on June 20, 2018 in Battle Creek.  Registration details can be found here: (Maker Summit Details)


  1. John,

    Fantastic piece! As a one-time student, I have felt the creativity being zapped out of me through the process of "school" and, in particular, the process of grading. Through grading, we create a culture of fear of failure, when in reality, failure is an attempt at learning. We also force a culture of compliance with our grades and our due dates. Just because someone finishes something first, does not mean they are the most knowledgeable on a topic. Please continue to spread the good word about this movement!

    1. Dan,

      Thanks for the feedback! I believe it devolves into those that can play the game of school and those who can't. Alas, that is a different blog post.

    2. I eagerly await your take on that post. I personally think they can go hand in hand.

      Again, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks again for talking with me a couple weeks ago about making!

  3. Good thinking John. I've thought many times about what Sir Ken says. I also remember growing up as a creative kid who built things in my basement and garage and in the woods. My parents encouraged playing and "making," but all too often today that's not happening. Just as important as providing "creativity" in the classroom, we need to help parents "create" with their kids at home. And yes, sometimes that means they have to stop binge watching The Bachelor or staring at their phone.


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