The Maker movement and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture celebrates innovation, creativity, and community engagement centered on hands-on creation. Parents, teachers, and Makers from diverse walks of life embrace hands-on learning and creativity, but well-grounded and shared understanding of its educational value is still lacking. In order for DIY and Maker culture to make a real difference for education, well-formulated research is needed, which speaks directly to educational policy and practice.

Make-to-Learn is an effort that leverages DIY culture, digital practices, and educational research to advocate for placing making, creating, and designing at the core of educational practice. The broader vision of Make-to-Learn is an educational ecosystem that incorporates these practices as a means to engage and inspire all young people towards lifelong collaborative learning, experimentation, and invention.

Make-to-Learn approaches this vision by bringing together Makers, educators, and researchers around the following questions:

What are key learning outcomes of making and engagement in DIY culture
What specific activities, tools, and environments help realize and enhance the learning potential of making?
How has making and DIY culture been effectively integrated into educational institutions and practice?
What further research is needed to effectively advocate for the educational value of making?

Make-to-Learn will investigate these questions through the following activities:

– Organizing events and public outreach aimed at enlisting support and raising awareness about the educational value of making. This includes a one-day symposium on March 13, 2013, the day before the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Chicago.
Surfacing and empowering a community of young Maker-learners (and their parents and mentors) and connecting them with educator and educational research communities. This will include a challenge hosted on, inviting submissions that speak to the relation between making and learning.
Facilitating collaboration between the Maker community, educators, and educational researchers in order to develop a research agenda centered on the educational value of making.

Through these activities, Make-to-Learn hopes to advance an ongoing conversation at the intersection of educational research and DIY culture and support a sustained research agenda to help advocate for improved educational outcomes for all through making.

Make-to-Learn is a thematic initiative of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine and is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Kylie Peppler and the Creativity Labs at Indiana University, Bloomington are leading this effort. For more information on this initiative, visit