We support educators interested in developing maker-centered learning practices. Our approach is rooted in Agency by Design ideas and research findings, from big-picture pedagogy to specific tools for the classroom. We offer professional development through three core programs:

TEACHER FELLOWSHIP: Our most in-depth program is an Oakland-based year-long teacher fellowship opportunity in which educators build community and participate in teacher-action research. 

MAKER BAR: We offer free workshops in our Maker Bar & Teacher Resource Center, located at Oakland International High School.

CONSULTANCIES: We partner with various schools and districts to offer customizable workshops and coaching. Workshops range in length from short meetings to multi-day intensives. Agency by Design Oakland team members also work with individuals and groups through one-on-one and small group coaching and consultations. If you are interested in Agency by Design Oakland workshops or coaching, please email us at pd@abdoakland.org

Menu of Professional Development Workshops

Maker Empowerment: An Introduction to the Agency by Design Framework
2 or 3 Hour Workshop

Participants in this introductory workshop will explore and experience a taste of the Agency by Design research findings and teacher tools. The focus is on building a sensitivity to the designed dimensions of the world through hands-on, collaborative learning experiences designed to make thinking visible. In addition to a collaborative design challenge, learning about and practicing the capacities of Maker Empowerment, participants will experience using the Agency by Design thinking routine Parts, Purposes, Complexities, and see examples of how other educators have used this tool in the classroom. With an additional hour teachers will experience two more thinking routines: Parts, People, Interactions and Imagine If. Participants will walk away with both the pedagogical background and concrete tools to integrate best practices in maker-centered learning into their classroom.

Scaffolding for Student Agency: Maker-Centered Learning Instructional Strategies
2 Hour Workshop

How do we structure classroom experiences so that our students become agentic learners? How might we redesign our instructional strategies to incorporate less teacher talk and more peer-to-peer learning and independent figuring it out? In this introductory hands-on workshop participants will walk away with research-based findings framing the pedagogical benefits of making, as well as concrete instructional strategies on how to design the culture of a classroom/makerspace that emphasizes a student-centered distributed learning model. Participants will walk away with instructional tools as well as a plan on how they will integrate a maker-centered learning strategy into their classroom environment.

Systems Thinking: How is it Designed? What Can I do About it?  
3 Hour Workshop

Our cell phones, the highway, the desk arrangement in the classroom, institutional racism...everything around us is a designed system. If we expect the next generation to redesign and improve these systems we need to give them opportunities to develop systems thinking abilities—in all content areas and all grade levels. Systems thinking is essential for learners developing agency as thinkers, makers, designers, tinkerers, hackers, and more. In this workshop participants will develop an understanding of what a system is, experience a systems hunt, then delve into the complexity of systems while moving through a process of problem finding and solving. This workshop can be tweaked to align with specific learning goals and/or content areas. Participants will practice using three Agency by Design thinking routines. 

Developing Empathy with our Learners
90-minute workshop

This workshop is designed to inject a quick, strong dose of empathy into the educators at your school site. Using the Agency by Design thinking routine Think, Feel, Care, participants will take the perspective of a learner. Through reflection and discussion they will be challenged to question their answers and perspectives, ultimately revealing their biases and challenging their beliefs about their students. Ideally three or more of your learners will be available to collaborate in the design and facilitation of this workshop.

Agency by Design 101
Full Day Workshop

This day-long session will go deeply into the research-based findings covered in the recently published book, Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds. Through hands-on experiences participants will learn about Maker Empowerment, the capacities of looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunity, and the Agency by Design thinking routines. Collaboration, critical thinking, and documentation/Making Learning Visible will be key components of all activities. Additionally, there will be built in time for participants to think explicitly about bringing maker-centered learning into their classroom practice.