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Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom [Kindle Edition]

Sylvia Libow Martinez , Gary S. Stager
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Join the maker movement!

There's a technological and creative revolution underway. Amazing new tools, materials and skills turn us all into makers. Using technology to make, repair or customize the things we need brings engineering, design and computer science to the masses. Fortunately for educators, this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing. The active learner is at the center of the learning process, amplifying the best traditions of progressive education. This book helps educators bring the exciting opportunities of the maker movement to every classroom.

Children are natural tinkerers

Their seminal learning experiences come through direct experience with materials. Digital fabrication, such as 3D printing and physical computing, including Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Raspberry Pi, expands a child's toy and toolboxes with new ways to make things and new things to make. For the first time ever, childhood inventions may be printed, programmed or imbued with interactivity. Recycled materials can be brought back to life.

While school traditionally separates art and science, theory and practice, such divisions are artificial. The real world just doesn't work that way! Architects are artists. Craftsmen deal in aesthetics, tradition and mathematical precision. Video game developers rely on computer science. Engineering and industrial design are inseparable. The finest scientists are often accomplished musicians. The maker community brings children, hobbyists and professionals together in a glorious celebration of personal expression with a modern flare.

When 3-D printing, precision cutting, microcomputer control, robotics and computer programming become integral to the art studio, auto shop or physics lab, every student needs access to tools, knowledge and problem solving skills. The maker movement not only blurs the artificial boundaries between subject areas, it erases distinctions between art and science while most importantly obliterating the crippling practice of tracking students in academic pursuits or vocational training. There are now multiple pathways to learning what we have always taught and things to do that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

Making for every classroom budget
Even if you don't have access to expensive (but increasingly affordable) hardware, every classroom can become a makerspace where kids and teachers learn together through direct experience with an assortment of high and low-tech materials. The potential range, breadth, power, complexity and beauty of projects has never been greater thanks to the amazing new tools, materials, ingenuity and playfulness you will encounter in this book.

In this practical guide, Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager provide K-12 educators with the how, why, and cool stuff that supports classroom making.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Learning is often confused with education. Martinez and Stager clearly describe "learning learning" through engagement, design and building. The best way to understand circles is to reinvent the wheel." (Nicholas Negroponte, Founder MIT Media Lab)

"Rarely does an education book come along that provides a cogent philosophical basis and an understanding of learning, thinking and teaching, as well as providing practical guidance for setting up effective digital-age learning and "making" environments."  (Holly Jobe, President, International Society for Technology in Education)

"Educators will be hard-pressed to find a more essential, important book for making sense of not just the exciting, game-changing "maker" technologies that are currently exploding around us, but of the absolutely powerful learning opportunities they present for our students as well. Invent To Learn creates a required new context for modern learning, and it offers an accessible roadmap for re-imagining schools, classrooms, and personal practice. It's a must read for those wanting to remain relevant in their student's learning lives." (Will Richardson, Author of Why School?)

"Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager have been passionate advocates for the need for children to learn by doing, making and building for over twenty-five years. With the explosion of the "Maker Movement," there is finally a movement built around their ideas. "Invent to Learn" is a must-read for any teacher, parent or student who wants to define their learning as more than just answers on a test. The ideas and resources in this book will inspire anyone to start making powerful artifacts of their learning." (Chris Lehmann, Principal, Science Leadership Academy)

From the Inside Flap

The first book about the maker movement written specifically for educators!

"A dynamic masterwork that engages readers from the opening sentence to the last. The craft of making things becomes a philosophical cornerstone to a true education, as this book makes abundantly clear. Rather than rant against the status quo, this book shows both why the transformation of education is essential, and presents specific strategies to make these changes. In many parts of the world, education has lost its way, and this book provides a map back to the educational experiences that are both tremendously effective and a great deal of fun as well." (David Thornburg, Director, Thornburg Center)

"Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering is the most important book of the 21st century for anyone interested in children and learning. The title says it all. Children learn best by making things whether physical or virtual. The authors highlight antecedents to this burgeoning new movement. Martinez and Stager describe making and tinkering as part of a long intellectual tradition and mention contributions of diverse luminaries such as Leonardo, Piaget, and Papert. This guidebook offers insights and suggestions as to how to bring making, tinkering, and engineering into learners' lives through classroom and out-of-school settings. Ideas and resources for implementing the ideas are clearly articulated. This beautifully written book opens up an exciting and stimulating educational adventure. " (Cynthia Solomon, Co-inventor of the Logo programming language and author of Computer Environments for Children: A Reflection on Theories of Learning and Education)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1337 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press (May 10, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CQDRF84
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and practical guide for educators! May 13, 2013
Format:Paperback
Want to start "making" but don't know where to begin or what to buy? This book is a great and practical resource for educators who are looking to incorporate meaningful play, tinkering, and STEAM initiatives into the classroom experience. (STEAM = Science Technology Engineering Art Math) Full of information, examples, and anecdotes from makers and teachers, this book will help you take the plunge and set up a mini or full-fledged Fab Lab.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have used less history and more suggestions October 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For a book that asks you to jump right into a great mode of teaching and learning, it takes a while in the book to get there. Presumably, if you have picked up the book, you don't need to know the philosophy and history of the movement- you already are a believer! Other than that, a good, useful book with good connections to a lot of online resources.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Broad overview, but not very useful November 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Invent to Learn" provides an overview with lots of examples of how "making" can be incorporated into the classroom, but it's written by two education technology experts who don't seem to have much experience in K-12 classrooms with students, and doesn't provide the kind of useful information I'd expect in a book written for an audience of classroom teachers.

Don't judge the book by the introduction or first chapter, which are much less useful and interesting than the later chapters. This book is a great example of how misleading Amazon's free preview feature can be; for this book, it includes only the Introduction, which is frankly not as interesting and engaging (and certainly not as useful) as some of the later chapters. Chapter One is a dry, unhelpful history of "making." You must grind forward to find the content that's actually insightful and useful.

This book provides a broad overview and could certainly be useful to some teachers who believe their knowledge of technology is weak. Some of the later chapters might be useful to more teachers who already incorporate technology and "making" in their classrooms.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From history to how-to for serious change-makers May 9, 2013
Format:Paperback
Invent to Learn is the perfect book for educators, administrators and community leaders who are invested in real educational changes in their schools. Gary and Sylvia seamlessly connect the ideas of progressive education to the current maker movement. Children crave creative, interesting and challenging projects, and the pressure is on for schools to develop a more STEM-centered learning environment. If you are ready for change, there's no need to start from scratch. Invent to Learn is an invaluable collection of ideas and resources to help both new and experienced educators grow professionally. Once you read this book, you will discover there is no end to the exciting things you can do with your students!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Invent to Learn is a book long overdue, as it will serve to refocus so much of the distracting triviality that has overtaken much of our use of computers in schools in recent times.

This a game-changing book through which Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez will reshape the conversation around our expectations of what computers truly make possible for young people. They have grasped the essence of what really matters and what our students should really be doing with computers.

They have taken some of the best ideas of people like Piaget and Papert and turned them into practical, tangible opportunities for young people to be inspired learners. I believe Invent to Learn will become a foundation textbook in undergraduate teaching courses in Colleges around the world, and should be a core reference for any teacher who sees computing as way of creating hard fun with their students.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book by the accomplished educators Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager, which does not surrender to the educational clichés of the day, but conversely gives educators, researchers and teachers a great overview of *why* making is important in education. The book is an endless resource of practical ideas for teachers to do more project-based, technology-rich activities using robotics, physical computing, 3D printers, and whatnot. And it's great that they credited Seymour Papert to being the father of the maker philosophy -- which he started back in the eighties.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concrete Constructionism Examples May 10, 2013
Format:Paperback
If you are looking for concrete constructionism examples that you can recreate in your classroom, maker space, or home, this is a must-have book for your library. Martinez and Stager profile a number of different educators who help students construct knowledge through engaging, hands-on projects that encourage creativity, tinkering, and making. Today's students, with access to technology such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC machines, as well as such common materials as cardboard, aluminum foil, and paint, have the ability to demonstrate their creativity through maker-type projects. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to lead students to be creative life-long learners.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Show what you teach February 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I know, who am I to criticize?! This is more of an evaluation for me than to be critical but the two are so synonymous that my parsing of words can be construed as meaningless, it makes sense in picture form. Really. Martinez and Stager build on Piaget and Papert's premise that people, emphasis here on children, learn best by hands on, imagination, creativity, using objects, et al. I agree with this premise on the most part. The author's build on the foundation of other's and attempt to demonstrate the foci of education is better suited to their premise. Again, I agree on the most part. But, as they so correctly point out in the introductory portion and first chapter, the problem has been government, political, and other's interfering with teachers being able to teach. The real problem as I see it is our collective attempts at forcing a one size fits all in education. The vast majority of us as teachers already adhere or practice what Martinez and Stager advocate in this book. I reduced the star rating by one for doing what they accuse others of doing in the education system. It is amazing by working with and teaching those in our classrooms, the diversity of students we interact with and influence. Not all children, young people, etc. learn the same way as the author's seem to say. There are some students who excel beyond our expectations and are really self-learners who would be slowed down in their learning if the author's were to achieve their ideal teaching philosophy be enforced on all students. Then there are those students who seem to us to be "slow" in learning or need to go to the "special needs" class for one reason or another which essentially 'dumbs' them down as they lacked one inability or another compared to the majority of the rest of the class. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Innovative
Great inspirational book for anyone looking for incorporating constructionism into the classroom. Inspired me to create a crowd funded project for a 3D printer at my school.
Published 10 hours ago by JH
4.0 out of 5 stars Good practical wisdom
The book shares a lot of good, practical information about makerspaces and how they are important in transforming today's educational system.
Published 4 days ago by Jason
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Launch From
A wonderful book to inspire people to build makerspaces. This is a great place to start and the best part is the valuable resources. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Jeanne Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Aside from the great practical suggestions for how to embrace making...
Aside from the great practical suggestions for how to embrace making in the classroom, the book does an even better job at explaining constructionist pedagogy (and this part of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Biberfan
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Needed it for class, but interesting.
Published 1 month ago by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love it!
Published 2 months ago by Rosa Maria Escobedo
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource for educators.
A very helpful book for adding invention and creative making to your classroom. Lots of theory but, examples and resources as well.
Published 2 months ago by MIchael J. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands on learning
Love the endless sources or amazing hands on learning. I may never finish thanks to the many links and lovely color text. Read more
Published 4 months ago by momma bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have resource
This is a must-have for any STEM teacher... or really any parent or teacher who wants their kids/students thinking and making. It has lots of resources and great ideas. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars great product, fast service
great product, fast service
Published 4 months ago by Robert P Cleary
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