Nicholas Cole-Farrell, Director of Technology and Making
In our Brandeis 2023 Strategic Plan
, we’ve outlined our belief in how “the school gives students agency in their learning by allowing them to design their own meaningful projects and curious pathways through learning.” Tucked away in the hallways adjacent to the Beit Midrash, what sounds to the passerby like banging, clattering, and simple white noise, is actually the sound of student voice and agency singing loud and clear here at Brandeis.
In research conducted by the Project Zero collective
at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for their book Maker-Centered Learning
, it was uncovered that the primary outcome of maker-centered learning was “developing agency and building character,” not necessarily “cultivating discipline specific knowledge and skills” for students—challenging previous assumptions about the principal value of maker education.
This research supports the pedagogy and approach we have taken here at the Brandeis School of San Francisco, since introducing our Maker Education program with the design and construction of our CREATE and BUILD spaces, beginning in the summer of 2014. Building on the constructivist foundation of the importance of student voice in learning, our team has used hands-on learning as a catalyst for creativity, self-expression, empowerment, exploring Jewish thought and tradition, understanding real-world problems, and the development of social-emotional skills and growth mindsets in our young people ...