Putting the Critical Back into Maker Spaces

Dr. Laura Pinto, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Learning through Critical Making

This video interrogates the popular maker movement’s ‘state of the actual’ in education with respect to its criticality, problematizing the effects of an uncritical exuberance for educational making. To do so, the video situates maker and production pedagogies philosophically, and discusses how their thrust and emphasis create both hidden and overt curricula that can either cultivate or silence criticality. The video calls attention to how making has abandoned its original, critical roots and the resulting educational, environmental and social implications.

Laura Elizabeth Pinto Laura Elizabeth Pinto is an Associate Professor of education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the recipient of a 2009 Canadian Governor General’s Gold Medal for her academic work. Her critically-oriented research focuses on democracy and social justice in both education policy and practice.

Learning Through Critical Making: Putting the Critical Back into Maker Spaces


CONSTRUCTIONISM: learners co-create new knowledge based on active engagement with raw materials or digital code.

MAKING: a strategy to engage youth in science, technology, engineering, math, arts, and learning as a whole

CRITICAL MAKING: production that necessarily integrates reflective processes – thus emphasizing a certain type of critically-infused process over the production

PRODUCTION PEDAGOGY: learners engage in (multi)literacy, artistic, and/or practical design challenges and aptitudes through the making of authentic artefacts.