I interviewed a couple of edge case users. Students that I’ve watched as they’ve struggled to make things, as well as students who jump at any chance to create new things.
Daisy and Sarah were teammates last term for a geometry project where they needed to build a working pinball machine from a pile of junk. At points throughout the project, Daisy and Sarah would get stuck making. It wasn’t attitude that stopped them from making. So I wanted to know more, and sat down with them.
- During the project she felt very uncomfortable
- The gray area and the unknown caused Sarah to freeze
- She didn’t know where to start
- Once her team made a list, she could see the next step needed to make things happen
- THE BIG FEAR: NOT HOW TO MAKE, BUT WHAT TO MAKE?
- After completing the project she liked not knowing what she was making, in process she was really uncomfortable
- Very proud of final project
- It feels good to figure out the why and how
- Writing a to-do list with the teacher made it feel like a lightbulb went on and she knew how to get stuff done
I also sat down with a few others for whom making comes very naturally. They can always be found tinkering with the 3D printer or coding a plug-in for their browsers.
- His parents always gave him broken things to put back together
- On the 120th broken item he was successful at fixing
- The successful feeling was enough to keep him making and fixing
- He didn’t have TV growing up
- His family built most things (furniture, additions to the house) from scratch
- A neighbor also made things and shared them
- No TV
- It was the family ethos to make
Overall, it seems like some students grow up in a making culture, and some don’t. It can seem scary to approach something where you might fail and where there is gray area about what to do next. Perhaps we can help those students who didn't grow up in a culture of making develop strategies to handle the gray.