Making to Learn

Building a Maker Community

Why should schools create maker spaces and design programs? What does it take to build beyond just a maker space and establish a "maker community?" How might a school set conditions so that learners develop and practice agency in the world - that disposition and bias to take action and make the world a better place?

While Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (MVPS) and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation (MVIFI) have been practicing and leading design thinking work for nearly a decade, we have made significant advances in the past three years in building a more sophisticated maker community. Thanks in large part to a generous grant from The Goizueta Foundation, we have accelerated and deepened our efforts to design a better world.

During the spring and summer of 2018, as part of our commitment to action research around transforming school, Mount Vernon began producing a short documentary film so that we might share various aspects of our journey during the last few years. What's here now is a first-cut trailer of the emerging documentary. When the final cut of the film is ready in early summer 2019, we plan to share the film as a resource for other schools and organizations that are striving to create and nurture maker communities.

Additionally, our leaders in the Maker, Design and Engineering program are creating and sharing videos, podcasts and other resources in growing libraries of episodes and short courses, so that other programs might benefit from and build upon all that we are experiencing and learning. The first batch of these resources are ready now and can be found below.

Stay updated

How the Lessons Are Structured

Navigating This Learning Journey

At the launch of this website resource for building a maker community, we are releasing five lesson pages that we call "Laps." You can find Laps 1-5 linked in the area below.

Each of the Laps consists of four sections.These four organizing components provide you with a video explanation of how we've structured our Maker, Design and Engineering (MDE) program; background context; additional resources to peruse, and an invitation to tinker and try something yourself.

Have fun exploring!


Our Design

Short videos that describe HOW. What do the elements of our MDE program actually look like?


Design Context

We share WHY. These are descriptions of WHY we chose a specific element of Cognitive Gearing.



We share WHERE. These are places and resources to inspire your wandering and wondering.



This is the WHAT NEXT. Here you will find provocations so that you can take an active turn at playing.

The full season of Build In Progress is available on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, or wherever you go to get your podcasts.
In each episode of the Build in Progress Podcast we ask our guests what they are listening too. Here it is...in all its eclectic glory for you to tap your toes to. It is a collaborative playlist, so we invite you to add your own Maker Tracks to this list!