Thesis Open Access

A study on the development of maker activities with primary education teachers and students: from self-concept change to gender factors

Judit Martínez-Moreno

Schools have to prepare young people for the future workplace, and there are two factors that have to be highly considered to do so: the high demand for a qualified workforce in technology and research, and the importance of knowledge and skills as the engine of our economy. Educators have to develop the 21st century digital skills and maker activities seem to be a good way to do so. In this line, there are being created many projects to help the scholar community to follow the maker methodology, such as Makers a les Aules, a project developed in 10 public schools from Barcelona.

The aim of this thesis was to conduct an exploratory research about the development of maker activities with primary education teachers and students. In relation to teachers, it wanted to be analyzed which reasons drove them to develop maker activities, how does their self-concept change after following a maker methodology and what do they still need to be improved to make it easier to include these activities in the classroom. On the other hand, in relation to students, it wanted to be analyzed their prior knowledge regarding maker activities, how does their self-concept change after participating in the project and if there were any differences regarding to gender. There were posed some general assumptions based on previous literature regarding these issues. There were used different research instruments to collect mainly qualitative data such as pre- questionnaires and post-questionnaires, a case study observations and interviews. The data was analyzed through qualitative analysis and statistical methods.

Some of the assumptions were accomplished. Few teachers and nearly all students had prior experience using maker tools. There were gender differences since boys had more prior experience than girls using maker tools in specific contexts, but all of them report the same level of enjoyment. Teachers participating in the project were willing to learn how to introduce this methodology in their classroom to innovate in their lessons. They increased their perceived knowledge and ability to design and develop maker activities in the classroom. Students increased their interest and self-perceived efficacy in technology, and their level of autonomy doing maker activities. Some limitations that teachers could face for developing maker activities are the lack of knowledge, access to the material and time. Some actions should be carried out to overcome these limitations.

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