It’s more than just a hat rack. It’s a student ability to express his creativity and ingenuity through making.

Students at Makers XD really come to life in the shop. With their new knowledge on the materials and tools, they are able to bring their ideas to the table and make something that matters to them. To Noah, having a place to set his hat at night is of the utmost importance. A nicely oiled and sealed oak ‘hat rack’ is what he had his mind set on. Our courses at Makers XD are about nourishing this need to create and help our students see the potential in their ideas.
Get your student involved with making at Makers XD inside Hacker Lab in Sacramento and Rocklin through our Summer courses, our Day courses for home school families or our After school program. Let creativity and technology unite.

What does it mean to teach ‘build’ skills at Makers XD?

People learn by doing considerably better than they do by hearing. A build class by nature focuses on making things. Like design classes it follows the tenets of design thinking. Unlike design, these courses exclusively focus on physical application.
Students engage in the design process by iterating through five steps1:
  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test
Though prototyping is the most obviously related to a BuildXD class all of these steps together represent the full process of designing and building within our maker space. Practice in each of these steps increases efficacy in later applications.2 Too often education focuses on only one aspect of a more complex process to the detriment of learning and acquisition of skills. The United States has fallen behind in the world in Mathematics and Science. We also no longer produce many of the goods that we consume.  
Product design requires attention to detail, evaluation of procedures as to maximize efficiency
and it develops business acumen.3 All of these skills apply outside of the shop. In addition physical work develops an understanding of metric and standard systems, fractions, and decimals. These are no longer abstract concepts but directly relate to finished product which is demonstrably better if the concepts have been mastered.
BuildXD classes promote and in many ways demand creativity from the students. Creativity is something that is sorely needed in our educational system. It is well known that creativity diminishes as children grow. What is less well known is that there are ways to affect the amount that creativity decreases4.  We at MakersXD have a mission to cultivate creativity wherever we find it and to develop and often redevelop the belief that every human at their core is a maker and an artist.
  1. Lewrick, M., Link, P., Leifer, L. J., & Langensand, N. (2018). The design thinking playbook: Mindful digital transformation of teams, products, services, businesses and ecosystems.
  2. Hammond, M. M., Neff, N. L., Farr, J. L., Schwall, A. R., & Zhao, X. (2011). Predictors of individual-level innovation at work: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
  3. Çeviker-Çınar, Gözde & Mura, Gökhan & Demirbag Kaplan, Melike. (2017). Design Thinking: A New Road Map In Business Education. The Design Journal.
  4. Ohly, Sandra & Plückthun, Laura & Kissel, Dorothea. (2017). Developing Students’ Creative Self-Efficacy Based on Design-Thinking: Evaluation of an Elective University Course. Psychology Learning & Teaching.

What is ‘design’ and how do we teach it?

Skills associated with the design process are currently in demand across multiple industries. The act of design and its processes range from the purely physical to sociological1.

The theory of design thinking relies on three major concepts2:

1) Empathy – Actively valuing the experience of the end user and

understanding the factors that improve or detract from their experience.

2) Ideation – The process of iteration and creative freedom in which many ideas are generated and modified. This process involves both definition of the problem and desired experience as well as ideation of possible experiences that provide the desired experience.

3) Experimentation – Prototyping the object or experience, testing with users and then adjusting accordingly.

Within a designXD course students are encouraged to focus on the experience of the user. A clear definition of goals are established and criteria for evaluation of those goals are agreed upon. The goals are then pursued, tested and evaluated. This follows the framework of design thinking. The skills used in design thinking apply to areas outside of the experience with our classes.

Regardless of the job sector the process of design thinking can be used to great effect. This does not require the actor to be in a position of power within the organization though it certainly could. Often times innovations within an industry originate in a worker identifying an area that could be improved upon, often to make the workers life easier or safer and then trying the novel concept. Like most things successive experiences of success in design thinking increase the likelihood that an individual will engage in design thinking in their day to day life.

With the increasing likelihood of more and more automation throughout the remainder of this century, jobs that themselves can not be automated are becoming more and more appealing and will eventually become essential. The job of designing an experience so that it is more effective and engaging for the user is something that computers are ill-suited to achieve. Consequently training in these areas will provide valuable skills for citizens of the 21st century.

  1. Kimbell, Lucy. (2011). Rethinking Design Thinking: Part I. Design and Culture. 3. 285-306. 10.2752/175470811X13071166525216.
  2. Schon, Donald A.  (1983). The reflective practitioner : how professionals think in action.  New York : Basic Books