The Maker Mindset

Written by Dr Kiruthika Ramanathan, Senior Manager, Education Services & Outreach at Science Centre Singapore.

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A key event of the Singapore Science Festival, Maker Faire Singapore, aims to inculcate the Maker mindset – a growth mindset that encourages people to believe that they can learn to do anything. As the founder of Maker Faire, Dale Dougherty, puts it, Makers reject the idea that you are defined by what you buy. Makers focus instead on what they can make and what they can learn to do. Makers are thus motivated by internal goals, and not external rewards. This is a very empowering thought, especially in today’s world where consumerism is rampant.

The Maker mindset has a very important role to play in the transformation of education. Lev Vygotsky, the 20th century Developmental Psychologist who is well known for his work on the development of higher cognitive functions in children, defined what is called the “Zone of Proximal Development”. The zone of proximal development is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help. Vygotsky proposed that the role of education was to give children experiences that are within their (individual) zones of proximal development. Several subsequent studies have led to the conclusion that learning happens best when the learning environment allows students to do harder tasks than it would otherwise be possible for them.

This process of setting personalized authentic learning environments becomes almost effortless with the Maker movement. Instilling the Maker mindset empowers a learner to define his or her own learning path and choose to learn the most relevant skills and information. It is hence important to set a good learning environment.

Check out Dr Kiruthika’s article on Maker Faire Singapore in issue 97 of the Science Spy magazine in collaboration with Singapore Scientist, and how the Maker Mindset transformed our learning experience in our learners.

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