EdD Research

New horizons in maker education:

A phenomenological study of teachers’ lived experiences in secondary schools.  


The purpose of my EdD qualitative study is to illuminate the experiences of teachers who have adopted maker-centred learning in secondary schools.

My intention is to interview teachers and build on previous research from a study when our focus of maker education was within a social, historical and economic context (Perrotta, Bailey & Garside, 2018) and use narratives of teacher experiences now to produce in-depth descriptions of maker education within a secondary school setting.


The ‘Maker Movement’ is a phenomenon that has gained momentum over the last decade, originating with the launch of ‘Make’ Magazine in 2006 and giving impetus to maker-related projects and the first ‘Maker Faire’ in the Bay Area the following year (Dougherty, 2012). As some would argue, making and makerspaces have existed before but the impact of building communities of practice and the collaboration of makers coming together in one space is seen as the defining time and an era when ‘“the movement was born, at least as a collective concept” (Burke, 2014). Since the Maker Movement has grown internationally with communities of hobbyists, tinkerers, engineers, hackers and artists collectively creating material objects (Martin, 2015), we have witnessed it’s integration into school settings and a rise in the adoption of ‘maker education’ with associated learning spaces connected to ‘learning by making’ (Peppler, Halverson and Kafai, 2016).

Since its rapid adoption in schools, maker education has become a research topic of interest for a range of disciplines, but the diffusion of studies has been at the expense of developing coherent theory, pedagogy and practice (Weiner, Lande and Jordan, 2018). As such there is an increasing need to grow the body of empirical evidence and conceptualise teacher experiences of maker education over a number of years as an object of study for educational research.


In Mindstorms (1980), Papert examined how the computer served as an ‘object-to-think-with’ to enable children to realise their personal objectives and learning across any subject. The methodological framework for my thesis will not be constructionism, however ‘objects-to-think-with’ will be positioned as experiences and feelings of teacher participants gathered using a phenomenological framework to develop a research analysis on lived experiences to answer the following research question:

What are the lived experiences of teachers who have adopted maker education in secondary schools?

  • What are the lived experiences of teachers implementing maker education to provide knowledge?
  • What factors are essential to the implementation of maker education in a secondary school, if any?
  • How do teachers of maker education measure what students have learnt, if at all?
  • How do teachers describe challenges in the adoption of maker education in the curriculum, if any?


Burke, J.J., 2014. Makerspaces: a practical guide for librarians (Vol. 8). Rowman & Littlefield.

Dougherty, D., 2012. The maker movement. Innovations: Technology, governance, globalization, 7(3), pp.11-14.

Martin, L., 2015. The promise of the maker movement for education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 5(1), p.4.

Papert, S., 1980. Mindstorms: Computers, children, and powerful ideas. NY: Basic Books, p.255.

Peppler, K., Halverson, E. and Kafai, Y.B. eds., 2016. Makeology: Makerspaces as learning environments (Volume 1) (Vol. 1). Routledge.

Perrotta, C., Bailey, C. and Garside, C., 2018. Culture, technology and local networks: towards a sociology of ‘making’ in education. Cambridge journal of education48(5), pp.553-569.

Weiner, S., Lande, M. and Jordan, S.S., 2018. What Have We” Learned” from Maker Education Research? A Learning Sciences-base Review of ASEE Literature on the Maker Movement. Review & directory-American Society for Engineering Education.

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