Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Case for Kits #MakerEd

There is a point of view that kits are not good for Makers/Makerspaces. Their is a belief that kits take away from the purity of exploration of a Makerspaces and trying new things and failing. One big question from these people is,

Are you truly Making if you are just following directions?

My answer to that is yes. A big, fat yes for that matter.

I love starting my learning with kits. If I want to tackle something completely new and have no idea where to start, I will order a kit so I can get my bearings. After going through the motions with the kit and understanding what everything can do, I start to branch out and explore my ideas based on what I've learned. That is the beauty of kits. They are the gateway to more in-depth making.

I get very frustrated that there is a "my way or the highway" approach to Making and Makerspaces. Not everyone is going to follow the same path when it comes to Making and that should be embraced and supported by all educators. Our students are not starting in the same place, so why not offer them a kit or challenge to help guide them on their journey. I think it is called differentiation.

Companies (littleBits, SparkFun, Pimoroni, PiSupply, etc.) offer a simple access point to complex electronics that might be too intimidating for beginners to explore on their own. I appreciate any company that wants to try and make STEAM concepts more accessible to a variety of learners. Can these kits be pricey? Yes, but getting all of the pieces for various projects and creating the guides for them are not cheap and a person is paying for the convenience the kit provides.

As a Maker community, please let us be kind and supportive of all learners, adult and child, that are trying to explore the creative world around them in ways that work for them.

Hugs and High Fives,

NP

Wrong kit. This is K.I.T.T.