AbD Oakland is the Bay Area-based action research component for the Agency by Design research project. Agency by Design is an exploration of the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning, based at Project Zero, a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Since the project’s inception in 2012, cohorts of Oakland-based teachers have provided classroom laboratories to explore emergent AbD ideas. From this work grew a local effort to support educators and schools interested in developing maker-centered learning practices.
Beyond our participation in the research process, we see our role in the maker-centered learning landscape as disseminators of AbD research findings. Rather than provide a blueprint for creating a maker space or purchasing tools, we focus on the thinking and learning that takes place in maker-centered contexts. AbD Oakland team members provide professional development support through workshops, coaching, and grants to schools and youth-serving organizations. We collaborate with educators and schools to find opportunities to support according to specific needs and intentions.
We are committed to operating through a lens of equity, and we aim to bring this lens to all of our work. It is our priority to serve underserved student populations and communities of color.
In May 2016, we launched phase II of Agency by Design, with a focus on documentation and assessment in the maker-centered learning context. A cohort of AbD Oakland Fellows are participating in the action research component of this phase.