Mozilla Clubs promote learning experiences that are goal-oriented, hands-on, and designed to support real work for projects that further open research and open source.

At Mozilla, we’re dedicated to coupling our digital literacy programs with a “make first” approach. We don’t think the Web should be taught traditionally, with textbooks and a blackboard. The “sage on the stage” approach is directly oppositional to the distributed and participatory nature of the Web we champion. Instead, learners should start by doing what they eventually intend to master: building apps, remixing content, creating web pages, and more. This “make first” approach has always guided Mozilla’s Learning Networks, a collection of Hives, Clubs, and annual celebrations like Maker Party and MozFest “. Chris Lawrence VP of Leadership, Mozilla Foundation.

1. What is learning by making?

“Learning by Making” is also called “Project based learning (PBL)”, “Active Learning”, “Maker Centered Education”, “Experiential learning”, “DIY (Do It Yourself)”, among other names.

Agency by Design (AbD), a multi-year research initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero defines “Learning by Making” as an approach to education that focuses on maker experiences, by turning users into inventors. This educational model encourages learning-through-doing supported with new tools and technologies, collaboration, and interdisciplinary practices, and is based on constructivism.

In these video, you can learn how this approach is implemented both with children and adults.

It is important to note that this movement is taking place in different places around the world such as… Africa, European Union, Australia, India, China, Brasil, among others. The maker movement has gone global!

Making in education is not a new idea, however. Learning scientists and educational philosophers have long understood that with the combination of our hands and our minds, we see the best results. In the realm of science, this process is called “inquiry” — it encourages curious learners and scientific researchers alike to interact with the natural world to better understand it .

1.1 Homo Faber, “Man the Maker”

As we learned in the last lesson, we are not only Homo Sapiens, but also Homo Ludens and… Homo Faber “Man the Maker”. We understand this sociological concept from when it first appeared in Latin Literature, referring to the ability of humans to control our destiny and what surrounds us: “Homo faber suae quisque fortunae” (Every man is the artifex of his destiny).

“From the very beginning of time, the ability to extend one’s corporeality (and therefore to alter one’s own natural dimensions) has been the very condition of Homo Faber”. Umberto Eco in his book “Open Work”

Making is the way in which humans interact with our environment, in a recursive process. We are all makers. We cook, sew, build, write, play music, paint, tell stories. We express ourselves through creation. We are continuously sharing our creations with others and seeking feedback. A real life example for a cook is, “do you like my new recipe?” Throughout the making process, we learn. It is through trial and error, especially through important failures, that we learn what to do and what not to do. We improve our skills as we create.

1.2 Is this approach all about MAKING STUFF?

In the below video, the Agency by Design (AbD), explains how the maker empowerment concept is not just about people simply making things, but rather they are empowered to see the world and its systems as things that have been designed. Therefore, they understand that these designs can be tweaked, hacked, re-envisioned, etc. The intention of the making approach is that learners can come to feel empowered, and have a sense of agency over the things in their world.

1.3 Is it effective for young people or adults?

Generally, people assume that the Making approach is only for kids, mainly because we are used to seeing activities like this in environments with children. However, the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network explains how “Learning by Making” approach is successful for both young people and adults, and the reason behind it is simple: when you learn by experience, the knowledge you acquire becomes relevant.

It is important to adapt the content and methodology to our learners characteristics and needs. When using active learning with adults you should involve them in the planning, select subjects that have clear relevance and impact on their personal or professional life and take their previous experiences into account. This infographic highlights relevant insights about “andragogy,” or adult education.

2. Teachable experience: Ride with me to London

This is the story of Marina Malone, a senior at a Chicago public school, who, despite having almost no prior experience with coding, helped develop an app that she presented at MozFest 2015 in London, a web and tech festival where people from all over come to the show their latest ideas and meet like-minded creators.

Read this amazing blog post and watch the video, which illustrates multiple opportunities that the learning by making approach brings:

Ride With Me To London

3. More resources