Yasmin Kafai believes in the opportunities Maker Jawn provides for Philadelphia children.
The project —with a name true to the city — connects Philadelphia children and adolescents with volunteer mentors and Penn GSE students to learn and build. Maker Jawn kids meet outside of school to work on projects ranging from coding to cooking to sewing to construction. As leaders explained in a recent Grid story, the point is to engage the children’s natural creativity and curiosity.
That’s key for their learning, Kafai told Grid, and a different experience than the classroom. Another distinction: This maker movement also allows children to fail, while giving them the support to find a way to succeed.
As Kafai told Grid:
“It would be very rare to get a program or a design working the first time around… Productive failure is built in the process. You have to go back and examine what isn’t right, maybe go find someone to ask the right questions so they can help you fix it, then try again.” Permitting this style of learning through productive failure, she feels, is often dismissed as “too messy for our traditional educational process.”