National Writing Project

Panel Discussion: Making, Coding, Writing

Date: 2014

Summary: This keynote discussion from the Scratch @ MIT 2014 Conference, featuring Mitch Resnick (MIT/Scratch) interviewing Elyse Eidman-Aadahl (National Writing Project) and Dale Dougherty (Maker Education Initiative), emphasizes making, coding, and writing as deeply related modes of creating meaning and sharing it with the world.


How would we teach reading if our end goal was that people became strong, powerful, authoritative, engaged, participatory writers? If that was our goal, and then we saw reading, actually, the ability to access the knowledge of others as something that you do on the way to what you produce, would we think about both of them differently?

And I think there"s probably actually both on the coding and the making side this notion that if your real emphasis is not on the consumption side, but on what somebody will produce themselves or with their peers, we would shift a million things in teaching."

— Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP Executive Director

Watch the Video


3.22 Dale talks what inspired the "Maker movement" and how a community has grown out of that. Maker Education creates a way for youth and families to have hands on experiences making things.

6.10 Elyse discusses the founding of the National Writing Project and the peer-to-peer learning principles that it is built on. Elyse also talks about the National Writing Project"s broad definition of "writing."

10.34 Mitch poses a question about the difference between readers and writers or makers vs consumers, and how do NWP and Maker Education approach those distinctions.

11.14 Elyse talks about how literacy is taught in a formal setting and explores how we get people to produce and participate.

14.46 Dale talks about using technology vs. making technology. He discusses Maker Faires and explores how you bring these concepts of making together create community and an environment of sharing into an educational setting.

20.42 Elyse bring up the point that it is less about the medium itself but rather the moment and the community that surrounds the medium creating a different model of joyful and engaged learning.

21.55 All three speakers weigh in on the model of making for the sake of making and sharing rather than as a competition.

28.39 Elyse talks about the the writer— reader transaction and how this dynamic is taught impacts the way we write.

34.44 Dale weighs in with a comment about how STEM is taught vs. how we can use it as a tool.

36.32 Mitch proposes the question, What is we hope people are going to learn through the activities we are involved in?

40.12 Elyse talks about how the process of learning has many iterations.

49.02 The keynote closes with thoughts on connected learning and how institutions (like museums, schools, and after school programs) are working to create an engaged learning environment and interact with their larger communities.

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