A Teacher's Guide to Promoting Agency & Action Through Making

Target Audiences: Grades 1 - 8


Day 1

Welcome & Logistics

Session 1: Setting the Scene

The world our students live in now is different from the one we grew up in, and it will continue to change in ways we cannot even yet imagine. As teachers, how do we prepare our students to contribute to and be successful and happy in a world we cannot foresee? We introduce why agency, action and design matter and how, by helping our students develop the sensitivity, capacities and inclination to change the world they live in, they will be able to be flexible learners, creative problem solvers and active agents for change.

We will explore what learning dispositions are and why they matter, and how "making" and design, in particular, can help our students to develop learning dispositions that will help them throughout school and beyond.  

Through a hands-on making activity, you will explore the student experience and the dispositions involved in that experience. Reflecting on that experience you will explore your own dispositions as a maker and address aspects of mindset related to making.

Session 2: Agency, Action and Design Thinking

Agency and Action are topics coming increasingly to the forefront in education, but it is important that we have a shared understanding and vocabulary around these concepts. In this session we will discuss agency and Action in terms of both theory (including in the IB, Enhanced PYP and Project Zero) and your practice, exploring and reflecting on the nuances of each and their changing place in education.

We will introduce elements of Project Zero's "Agency By Design" research program and explain how helping students to develop a sensitivity to the designed world can be used to promote agency and take meaningful action

Finally, to give you the tools you need to begin to transfer these ideas and theory into practice plan practically for making and  we will introduce and extend design thinking strategies and approaches

Session 3: Making session - Agency and Action through making.

In this session, you will have the opportunity to experience agency, action and design through making in the context of the curriculum. Building on the learning thus far, you will be guided to identify a problem or issue inspired by the curriculum and work to design and create a solution with makerspace tools and resources. We will support you to consider how these understandings, tools and approaches could be implemented in your own context.

Questions & Reflections

Day 2

Welcome, questions and reflections

Session 1: The “designed world”

In society we design not only products & objects but also systems and space. How can the design of products, systems and space and the relationship between these concepts be used to promote and facilitate agency for students?

Using a common guided example, you will explore and discuss this idea, and begin to identify opportunities to explore the designed world with students.

Session 2: Making Session - Agency and Action in the designed world.

Taking the next step in the experience of making from the student perspective, you will identify a problem or issue in the designed world related to designed systems or space, inspired by the curriculum.  Using the tools and strategies introduced so far, you will work to design and create a solution with makerspace tools and resources and consider how this learning could be implemented in your context.

Session 3: Tying it all together

We close this workshop by providing you with time and support you to set practical goals and engage in forward planning so that you can take what you have learned in these two days and apply in your context.  Our aim has been to communicate and demonstrate the idea that a maker is simply someone who has the inclination and agency to design solutions to real-world problems and we hope that by the time you leave this workshop you see not only your students as makers but also yourself. With the content, experiences and support from this workshop, you can take real and immediate steps to begin to help your students to build agency and take action through making and design.

Final questions & Reflections