A key goal of maker-centered learning is to help young people and adults feel empowered to build and shape their worlds. Acquiring this sense of maker empowerment is strongly supported by learning to notice and engage with the designed dimension of one’s physical and conceptual environment—in other words, by having a sensitivity to design.
Sensitivity to design develops when young people and adults have opportunities to: look closely and reflect on the design of objects and systems, explore the complexity of design, and understand themselves as designers of their worlds. Accordingly, the Agency by Design framework describes three interrelated capacities that help learners develop a sensitivity to design: Looking Closely, Exploring Complexity, and Finding Opportunity.
For each of these capacities, there is a set of observable or actionable “moves”—or indicators—that learners and educators can use to help design maker-centered learning experiences, and to support, observe, document, and assess maker-centered learning. They apply to individual as well as collaborative learning. Below are observation tools for the moves/indicators.