Repair Mindset, Thinking Routines, "Repair Disposition"

“Repair Mindset” — Repair in Schools’ Maker Programs

I’m currently working with Maker educators in the US exploring the premise that Repair enriches Maker pedagogy, and developing tools and strategies for productively integrating Repair into Maker programs in the schools. This current phase focuses on developing a “Repair Mindset”. Tools and skills development will be taken up in future phases.

The purpose of this Restart posting is to ask if anyone:

  1. has ideas and/or resources to contribute to our Phase One research into “Repair Mindset”, and
  2. knows about Maker Programs that emphasize Repair.

The Backdrop:

Maker programs are being established in more and more schools in the US. Repair’s problem-solving, materials exploration, design orientation, and systems thinking align exquisitely with Maker curricula, structures and objectives, yet Repair takes them further. Moreover, Repair plays a salient role in the environment and in economic systems, both urgent topics in education today.

The Working Group:

Comprised of six educators with extensive experience in school Maker programs, the working group is a collaboration among:

  1. Agency by Design Oakland – a Maker-Centered Learning program developed out of a pilot project of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, operating in Oakland, California, USA. (

  2. Maker Ed – an organization providing trainings and resources to integrate maker education into learning environments, operating across the US. (

  3. The Culture of Repair Project – an initiative supporting local cross-sector repair initiatives, operating in The East Bay, California, USA. ( (i.e., yours truly)

Phase One Focus:

While attentive to tools and knowledge, in this first phase the group is focused on looking beyond them towards articulating the distinctive characteristics of a “Repair Mindset” that are additive to a “Maker Mindset”, and then developing teaching and learning strategies and tools to support students’ developing those characteristics. (More here:


Output will be disseminated on these and other platforms:

Material will also be part of AbD’s Project Zero (Harvard Graduate School of Education program) presentation and discussion (already underway). Social media will disseminate links widely.

Future Work:

This first phase of work will conclude with articulating next steps which are anticipated to address:

  • more fully developing frameworks, strategies and tools,
  • relationship to the environment / integration with schools’ sustainability programs,
  • repair of systems (phase one is about objects),
  • technical skills, and
  • more!

Resources Already In Hand:

Among much more, the group is already drawing from these resources:

Swinging back to my question for Restarters:

Do any of you:

  1. have ideas and/or resources to contribute to our Phase One research into “Repair Mindset”, and
  2. know about Maker Programs that emphasize Repair?

Integrating Repair into Maker Programs - Local to National

With the conviction that it’s essential for youth to Repair rather than reflexively trash and repurchase, and that there are vibrant synergies between Repair and Making, The Culture of Repair Project has been collaborating with Agency by Design Oakland ( and Maker Ed ( to explore possibilities in maker programs in schools.

This summer I joined a group of Maker educators to research and begin to develop strategies and tools for cultivating a “Mindset of Repair” in Maker education in the K-12 setting.

Much of the work builds on the Agency by Design framework and tools from Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education. (

Thank you Peter Mui of Fixit Clinic for contributing to our research.

BREAKING NEWS: This past weekend members of the Repair research group traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, to present at Maker Ed’s annual Convening, a gathering of Maker educators from around the world. (

The group shared their research for the first time and engaged workshop participants in trying out prototypes of their new tools, including reworked versions of thinking routines from the Agency by Design research project. It was super-well received! (

One team member reports: “The workshop was a big success, with tons of engagement, rich discussion, and great feedback!”

It’s REALLY EXCITING to see so much energy around bringing Repair into the heart of Maker education programs.

More information about the collaboration is on The Culture of Repair Project website: (

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