About the Maker Network

The Maker Network connects and collects all of the making-related spaces, events, clubs, projects and resources that are available to the Tufts community into one place on the web. Its purpose is to encourage students to learn by making, in whatever way they prefer.

Students of any major or background are welcome to join the network and help build Tufts' interdisciplinary maker culture. Becoming a maker allows students to utilize Tufts' makerspaces, participate in events, and easily capture and share the things that they make and learn from.

Learning by Making

It's really difficult to learn things when you're not building something that you're excited about.

Teachers of young kids in kindergarten and elementary school are very aware of this, which is why a lot of the learning we do early on is the result of active experimentation and problem-solving. We learn about plants by growing them, colors by mixing them, bridges by building them, and so on. The projects we do are intended to be fun, creative, and open-ended so that we stick with them and learn about important concepts along the way.

Unfortunately, as we get older and standardized testing becomes more prevalent, that kind of experiential learning becomes restricted to lab or shop classes. Our courses begin to focus on the information or tools we need to learn (vocabulary, facts, studies, formulas, programming languages) rather than the skills that will help us become better problem-solvers (leadership, communication, empathy, teamwork) or cool things that those tools enable us to build (art, assistive technologies, websites, apps, companies, films, furniture, robots, etc).

Learning by making is a return to the kind pre-standardized approach that encourages students to make something that they themselves want to make, and learn the necessary bits and pieces along the way. Rather than "learn how to code" for its own sake, build a personal website instead. Learn about woodworking by replacing your broken chair. Photography by taking photos. Electronics by fixing your computer mouse. While you learn, talk to other students who may be able to help or point you in the right direction.

Learning this way uses a student's internal motivation as a fuel source. Rather than be pulled forward by grades or the necessity to succeed, students push their own projects forward because making things is inherently fulfilling.

Learning by making is how the Maker Movement can find its place in higher education.