The Maker Movement Isn’t Just About Making and Electronics

[Mitch Resnick, MIT Professor and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab,  has been a leader in the world of student voice and computational thinking. Here’s an interview with him as part of an Edsurge article.]

By Mary Jo Madda May 23, 2016

Photo of educators at Play - PAEYC unconference - Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo of educators at Play – PAEYC unconference – Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Mitchel Resnick (or Mitch, for short) knows his making—from a lot of different angles. And he’s not too bought into the whole “electronics and gadgets” side of the maker movement.

Resnick has been in this business for more than 30 years, and it’s safe to say that he’s seen the maker movement—and the state of STEM education, in general—go through its phases, its ups and downs. He’s currently the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, where he and his team have developed products familiar to many a science educator: the “programmable brick” technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit, andScratch, an online computing environment for students to learn about computer science.

Is making something that every school should be doing—and are all interpretations of “making” of equitable value? EdSurge sat down with Resnick in his office at the MIT Media Lab to learn more, and to find out how he and his team are working to bring more creativity into the learning process.

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A Kids’ Coding Expert Says We’re Making Computer Class Way Too Boring

[Mitch Resnick in this NPR article highlights the importance of letting kids “play” with code. If we just have kids solve pre-determined problems, it’s like teaching writing by only learning grammar. I’ve been fortunate to see kids tap into the power of Scratch in my work with the in school programs at South Fayette School District and the Manchester Academic Charter School, as after-school programs sponsored by the YMCA. It works everywhere.]


Photo by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

For Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13), the nonprofit has helped organize nearly 200,000 “Hour of Code” events around the world. It’s advocating for computer coding as a basic literacy and an essential ingredient for jobs of the future, and there’s a lot of momentum behind the idea.

The biggest school systems in the country, New York City and Los Angeles Unified, each announced this fall that computer science will be a required course for all grades within 10 years. Coding is also part of national curricula in the U.K. and soon will be in Australia.


Mitchel Resnick has been at the forefront of computer science and early education for decades. He heads up something called the Lifelong Kindergarten Group, which develops new technologies for creativity at MIT’s Media Lab.

In the early 2000s, his team developed Scratch, a “visual” programming language. Visual means it depicts commands as blocks that can be snapped together, like Legos, into more complex sets of instructions. A version called ScratchJr, intended for those as young as 5, has been downloaded over 1.5 million times from the Apple App Store.

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Engaging Students in Creative Learning Experiences

Here’s an interview with Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab, on 28 April 2015, 10:00am published in Innovate My School| Social Media

[As seen in the October 2014 edition of Innovate My School]

Mitchel Resnick is a LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. He led the research group that developed the ‘programmable brick’, and we’re delighted to welcome him to our Twinterview to explore how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences.

Mitchel – it’s the start of a new academic year, and the excitement around implementing technology in the classroom continues to grow. In your opinion, what’s the biggest technology to change learning in the last year?

I’m excited about new “coding tools” that make it easier for kids to program their own interactive stories, games, and animations.

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