Should Makers be the Engineers of the Future

Project: Research project

Project Details


Should Makers be the Engineers of the Future Should Makers be the Engineers of the Future? We can probably all recall a friend or colleague who fits Apples Think Different tribute to the practically ingenious. While sometimes they succeed in making big changes from thinking, they often lack requisite resources to fully realize their dreams - resources that could be facilitated by engineering training. Building on the work understanding student engineering pathways, our research seeks to examine the community of self-described Makers engaged in informal engineering education and tinkering activities. As Makers embolden the characteristics of practical ingenuity, creativity, and propensity toward lifelong learning (Engineer of 2020), we pose the following question: Should Makers be the engineers of the future? Using qualitative research methods of critical incident, artifact, and context elicitation interviews, we will develop a theory describing Makers and their engineering education pathways. Our primary research questions are: RQ1. What knowledge, skills, and attitudes do Makers possess that could be related to engineering? RQ2. How do pathways of Makers intersect with engineering? This study is grounded in the conceptual framework of Social Cognitive Career Theory, which provides a useful means to study support and barriers to engineering pathway decisions. A total of 30 participants, sampled purposefully and equally stratified across the dimensions of age (college age and post-college age Makers) and engagement (through their formal engineering education, informal engineering education and tinkering activities). The study population will be over-sampled for underrepresented groups based on ethnicity and gender.
Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/15


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $249,385.00


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