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Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom Paperback – May 7, 2013
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"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)
"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, Futurist)
"The most important book of the 21st century for anyone interested in children and learning. Children learn best by making things whether physical or virtual. The authors highlight antecedents to this burgeoning new movement and describe making and tinkering as part of a long intellectual tradition. This book offers insights and suggestions as to how to bring making, tinkering, and engineering into learners' lives through classroom settings. This beautifully written book opens up an exciting and stimulating educational adventure." (Cynthia Solomon, Co-inventor of Logo)
From the Inside Flap
"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)
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Still, this is a great book to have on the shelf if you need to talk with skeptics who think school needs to be all about preparing for the PARCC or SMARTER assessments. Read this, read Shop Class as Soulcraft, and subscribe to Make Magazine, and you will be well equipped to explain that what the 21st century workforce really needs is to be able to handle a soldering iron, program an Arduino, carve a plaque with a CNC laser, and 3d print a dog whistle, and explain it all with calculus. Table saw, lathe and MIG welding skills won't hurt either, even if, or ESPECIALLY if little Janey was down for Tuck at age 2.
The 21st century workforce is not learning how things are made. Though children are born with creative skills, we are editing those skills out of them at earlier and earlier ages. Deprived of concrete creative play and creative learning experiences as schools are forced to emphasize the all-mighty tests over all, today's kids will be ill-equipped for concrete creative work as adults. Yet growing world problems will demand extremely creative solutions at the very time these kids are entering the world of college and career.
Read this book and help STEM the tide.
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.