Maker education is a great way to get kids engaged with solving problems and creating elegant solutions, but if teachers don't clearly tie class projects to expected learning outcomes, the movement may be a passing fad.
The conversation about what kids need to know and to be able to do by the end of high school has gradually shifted over the past several years to emphasize not just rigorous content goals, but also less tangible skills, such as creative thinking, problem-solving and collaboration.
How do we measure learning beyond knowledge of content? Finding that winning combination of criteria can prove to be a complicated and sometimes difficult process. Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.
Helping every student experience meaningful, deep learning is a constant challenge, in no small part because no two learners are alike. To reach students who are particularly challenged -- whether because of their ability to speak English or some other reason -- educators can find a way in by tapping into students' interests and passion.