1. Alice Anderson
  2. Manager of Audience Research and Impact
  4. Minneapolis Institute of Art
  1. Megan Goeke
  2. Evaluation and Research Associate
  4. Science Museum of Minnesota
  1. Adam Maltese
  2. http://www.adammaltese.com
  3. Associate Professor
  5. Indiana University
  1. Amber Simpson
  2. Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
  4. Binghamton University SUNY
  1. Euisuk Sung
  2. Postdoctoral Researcher
  4. Indiana University

EAGER: MAKER: Studying the Role of Failure in Design and Making

NSF Awards: 1623447, 1623452

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

In this NSF-funded exploratory research project we learned from 25 formal and informal educators and over 200 middle-grades youth about their experiences and perceptions of failure while engaged in maker activities. Maker-based learning experiences are often perceived to be prime opportunities for youth to practice the skills of innovation, iterative design and creative problem solving and in the process gain experience with failures, mistakes and setbacks. Through our research in a museum-based maker program, middle school classrooms, and an after-school making and tinkering program, we learned that whether or not youth experience failure and what impact that may have on learning is only one lens on this multifaceted concept.

Our research explores questions such as: What does it mean to fail? When and where is it OK to fail? How do educators support youth through failures? What other words do people use instead of failure? Over the course of the 3-year project, we conducted classroom observations, videos of youth making experiences, interviews and surveys. Our video highlights our key findings on how activity design, educational context, individual differences and pedagogical approaches contribute to learners’ experiences with failure.

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