Maker Pedagogy Network Project 2019

From mid 2017 to mid 2018, Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies partnered with the NSW Department of Education, Carlingford West Public School, Parramatta East Public School, Oatlands Public School and Makers Empire for a research project on maker pedagogy in primary schools.

The collaborative research project focused on the impact of maker pedagogies in K-2 settings through the provision of the Learning by Design course, a blended teacher professional development program and the use of high quality 3D modelling and printing tools.

The recently published research study report revealed that makerspaces can be highly effective at developing children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills.

Students were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges – it helped boost their confidence and resilience when dealing with setbacks, particularly for those less capable students.

The research study also showed that teachers became more comfortable with technology, and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching. Furthermore, all of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.

Following the successful 2017-2018 research project, 14 NSW schools will be part of the first NSW Maker Pedagogy Network Project (MPNP) to begin in Term 1, 2019.

The Maker Pedagogy Network Project

The MPNP is designed to develop sustainable and scaleable models of professional learning that lead to effective implementation of maker pedagogies, STEM learning outcomes and improvement in students’ critical, creative and Design Thinking abilities.

The MPNP works towards the goals of the National STEM School Education Strategy 2016-2026 by engaging students in exciting, challenging STEM learning that is connected to their real-world experiences; helping teachers to develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to combine STEM knowledge with critical, creative and design thinking; and building teacher capacity as mentors in their own and other sites.

To achieve this, over term one and two in 2019, MPNP participants will undertake Makers Empire’s popular Learning by Design course.

Students participating in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project will:

  • Address the new NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus with a particular focus on Design and Production.
  • Develop their creativity and important critical thinking, Design Thinking and digital skills.
  • Learn how to solve real-world problems with Design Thinking.

Teachers participating in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project will:

  • Complete full days of professional development including 20+ hours of NESA accredited professional development at the Proficient Teacher level.
  • Develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to develop deep technological knowledge as well as critical, creative and Design Thinking skills.
  • Be supported to design innovative learning programs that provide authentic, meaningful contexts for students to engage in STEM and maker-based learning using 3D design and printing.
  • Activate the potential of 3D technologies to develop and enhance students’ 21st-century learning skills.
  • Become more comfortable with technology and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching.

Timeline for the Maker Pedagogy Network Project

Term One

  • Face to Face PD Day 1 for participating teachers – Thursday February 21st, Week 4
  • Face to Face PD Day 2 for participating teachers – Thursday March 14th, Week 7

Term Two

  • Student Learning Showcase – Thursday June 27th, Week 9

Maker Pedagogy Network Project Inclusions



  • 20 hours of NESA accredited professional learning
  • 2 face-to-face PD days
  • 1 showcase day to share your learning
  • 2-hour online, on-demand PD course
  • Project management and reports
  • For 2+ teachers per school



  • 12-month subscription to Makers Empire:
    • Easy to use 3D software
    • Class management tools
    • 150 curriculum-aligned lesson plans
    • Built-in student assessment
    • Training
    • Ongoing support
    • For all teachers and students in a school
  • 3 x FlashForge Inventor IIs 3D printers
  • 20 rolls of biodegradeable PLA filament
  • Hardware training
  • Hardware support
  • Shipping included

ENDORSED BY the NSW Education Standards Authority

Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course is endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority. Specifically, Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course will contribute 20 hours of NESA Registered PD as follows:

1.2.2, 2.1.2., 2.2.2, 2. 6.2., 3.3.2., 3.4.2., 4.5.2., 6.3.2., 6.4.2. and 7.4.2. from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW, Australia.

What Teachers Say About the Learning by Design Course

“This was the best PD that I have been involved in for ages… This whole project has been inspiring for teachers and students in empowering students to become changemakers. Our students were so engaged and excited about solving a real-world problem… The fact that they could see they could help someone through their own design, meant their learning was authentic and valued.”

“I was a little hesitant at first, but as soon as I began working on my project it became very exciting…I love learning about new things particularly in the area of Technology and design and this was the perfect opportunity. I have learnt more in the last 4 months than I have for a long time. Thank you!”

“A lot of (students), their resilience (improved). The kids that would just sort of give up learnt a lot more about persevering with it, and to keep trying, which was good. And the main thing that I loved was that they sort of found problems with their designs and they weren’t really intimidated by that anymore.”

“Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in the project. It has built my own knowledge as well as my capacity to share with my staff. I am currently running six 3D printing projects this term!”

“I really liked how it allowed me to look at learning as a whole, right, not ‘this is English, this is Maths’… Really, I could think about in what ways I could make it more meaningful. I could change it and relate it to all the Key Learning Areas.”

“I think the lesson plans are fantastic for teachers – especially those who may find the hardest part being the inspiration/ideas on where to start…The Makers Empire app is a MASSIVE value add to the learning… the ability to create their design in 3D AND then print it makes the learning so much more obtainable and relevant/real.”

“Congratulations to you all on a fabulous 3D Printing Showcase at Grange Primary School. It was an absolute privilege to be able to celebrate and share in such fantastic models of teaching and learning. We were completely blown away by the diverse displays, presentations and stories that have made the 3D Printing in Primary Schools project such a success. Every story showed how you’ve been able to integrate 3D technology into teaching and learning across the curriculum. More importantly, every story showed how the technology is a tool, helping to develop critical & creative thinking, design thinking and powerful learner dispositions.”

Project Expectations and Commitment Required

School Leaders:

  • Identify and provide release (approximately 2 days) for at least two participating classroom teachers or teams of teachers.
  • Support capacity building of classroom teachers through the facilitation of ‘flow-on’ professional learning within their sites.

Participating Teachers:

  • Attend face to face professional learning, up to 2 days.
  • Participate in online professional learning communities.
  • Design, trial and document a unit of work or learning plan for publication that uses 3D modelling and design aligned with the new NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus with a particular focus on Design and Production.
  • Participate in the Schools Showcase.
  • Participate in pre- and post-project surveys.

Media Coverage of Learning by Design and the Study


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Participating NSW Schools for 2019 Term 1 and 2

Jasper Road Public School

North Kellyville Public School

Rosehill Public School

North Rocks Public School

Merrylands East Public School

Riverbank Public School

Colyton Public School

Kent Road Public School

Nulkaba Public School

Forrestville Public School

Carlingford Public School

Leumeah Public School

Broke Public School

Carlingford West Public School

Register Your School’s Interest in a future Maker Pedagogy Network Project in your state

Interested in being part of a future Maker Pedagogy Network Project in your state? This project has been designed for groups of schools so once we have 10 schools signed up in your state, we can begin a new project. Fill in this form to register your interest.