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The movement making waves in US education

Exponents of the US ‘maker’ clubs claim they are boosting take-up of science, technology, engineering and maths, but are the learning benefits truly valuable in the long term or are they just a passing fad? Jon Marcus reports

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A coating of fresh snow reflects the lights shining from the windows of a suburban Boston high school on a cold, dark night, long after classes have ended. Inside, in a large, high-ceilinged space behind a door that says “TECH ED”, students hover over laptops, lathes and 3D printers, fully absorbed in the process of designing, assembling and programming a robot capable of lifting heavy objects and balancing them on a precarious surface.

The LigerBots robotics club, at Newton South High School, is one example of the growing “maker” movement in US education, which encourages students to conceive ...

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