Tuesday 12pm, 1 March 2016


Learning from Maker Educational Pathways

Micah Lande

Assistant Professor - Arizona State University


Makers are a growing community of STEM-minded people who bridge technical and non-technical backgrounds to imagine, build and fabricate engineering systems. Some have engineering training, some do not. We will share our exploration into the educational pathways of adult Makers and young Makers and how they may intersect with engineering. This research is guided by the research questions, “What can we learn about the educational pathways of Makers?” and “How do the educational pathways of Makers intersect with engineering?” A series of studies will be shared relying on qualitative interviews, using artifact elicitation interviews and critical incident technique interviews, of adult Makers and young Makers at flagship Maker Faires. Throughout the collection of interviews with Makers and inductive analysis, a theme emerged where Makers from different educational backgrounds and with different careers (e.g., art, STEM, business) were making artifacts that had similar purpose. We present cases of parallel pathways to demonstrate the multiple, parallel pathways that Makers take to making their artifacts and the contextual events and activities that are critical to the direction of these pathways. We will also introduce the concept of “additive innovation” as a mode of collaborative sharing. The stories and experiences of learners engaged in making can offer valuable insight into how we might identify practices that promote the access and success of a larger and more diverse population of students for engineering. Makers are engaged in activities that embody the Engineer of 2020 (e.g., lifelong learning, creativity, and practical ingenuity). By studying Makers, we can consider the multiplicity of pathways into engineering majors and careers.


Micah Lande, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering programs at the Polytechnic School in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches human-centered engineering design, design thinking, and design innovation project courses. Dr. Lande researches how technical and non-technical people learn and apply a design process to their work. He is interested in the intersection of designerly epistemic identities and vocational pathways. Dr. Lande received his B.S in Engineering (Product Design), M.A. in Education (Learning, Design and Technology) and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (Design Education) from Stanford University.