EdD Research

A phenomenological study of teachers’ lived experiences related to maker education in secondary schools.


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 and underpinned with phenomenology as transcendental philosophy. I therefore intend to use the theoretical and methodological approach of phenomenology as a framework to develop a research analysis on teachers’ lived experiences of maker education to answer the following research question:

What is the essence of teachers’ adoption of maker education in the secondary school curriculum?

  • In what ways do teachers implement their perspectives and experiences into the teaching of maker education?
  • How do teachers describe their experiences when implementing maker education to provide knowledge?
  • What challenges do secondary teachers face when adopting maker education in the curriculum?
  • What factors do teachers perceive as essential to the implementation of maker education in a school?


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.

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.