Happy 10th Anniversary to Invent to Learn!
It’s hard to believe, but we published Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom 10 years ago in May 2013. Back then, the maker movement was just gaining steam. We attended Maker Faires in the US and abroad and noticed a few things:
- The maker movement had good instincts about education and learning-by-doing, but lacked vocabulary for talking about it. Worse, some leading lights of the maker movement seemed to be blaming teachers for depriving kids of meaningful hands-on activities.
- The technology of the maker movement offered amazing opportunities for young people in ways never before available outside large engineering firms or university labs.
- Schools were largely unaware of these opportunities and their increasing accessibility.
The joy and excitement of Maker Faire was resonant with the work we had already been doing for decades – Gary in educational computing, progressive education, and constructionism – Sylvia as a software developer, engineer, and advocate for student tech leadership. The new tools and materials available to makers added colors to our crayon box. Maker mania was an opportunity to amplify these powerful ideas and build bridges between informal learning communities and classrooms.
So we wrote blog posts and articles, and then we had enough content to form a book. We weren’t sure anyone would read it, much less buy it, but we timed the release date to coincide with the San Mateo Maker Faire 2013. People seemed pretty excited about the book at Maker Faire, and we were floored when the Maker Shed quickly sold out the two boxes of books we brought!
Over the next month, we were shocked by the deluge of requests for articles, excerpts, and interviews. It seemed like we had hit a nerve, and the book started to sell.
Educators from around the world contacted us to say that Invent to Learn inspired them to try digital fabrication, physical computing, and programming with students. Many readers reported that while the chapters on the new technologies were helpful, the thing they appreciated most was being able to situate fabrication and computational technologies in solid learning theory.
Ten years later, our book is used to inspire modern, student-centered education around the world. We published a second edition and the book has been translated into 8 languages: Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, and Kyrgyz!
The success of Invent To Learn led us to start Constructing Modern Press featuring books by educators for educators. There are currently fifteen great books in our catalog!
If you’d like to keep in touch with news about new books, resources, and professional development events, please sign up for our email newsletter!