Dec 27, 2011


Here sits a vast compendium of resources and information regarding my thesis. Most of them have links to the original document, but if anyone is reading this and would like a copy of one, please contact me and I will pass it along!

“Archive of NSF/RISD Bridging STEM to STEAM Workshop.” STEM to STEAM, 2011.

Arum, Lizbeth. “Liz Arum.” Lizbeth Arum, n.d.

Bergström, Jenny, Brendon Clark, Alberto Frigo, Ramia Mazé, Johan Redström, and Anna Vallgårda. “Becoming materials: material forms and forms of practice.” Digital Creativity 21 (September 2010): 155-172.

Berzowska, J, and M Bromley. “Soft Computation through Conductive Textiles.” In International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes Conference, 2007.

Buechley, Leah, and Benjamin Mako Hill. “LilyPad in the Wild: How Hardware’s Long Tail is Supporting New Engineering and Design Communities.” In Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), 199-207. Aarhus, Denmark, 2010.

Buechley, Leah, and Michael Eisenberg. “Boda Blocks: A Collaborative Tool for Exploring Tangible Three- Dimensional Cellular Automata.” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. International Society of the Learning Sciences, 2007.

Buechley, Leah, Mike Eisenberg, and Nwanua Elumeze. “Towards a curriculum for electronic textiles in the high school classroom.” In Proceedings of the 12th annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, 28. ACM Press, 2007.

This paper documented a tested e-textile curriculum for high school students. Many of their findings are key to the the development of this thesis. Most significant are:

a. Permanence of designed artifact and cultivation of personal meaning.

Computational craft projects are not constructed from kits that are meant to be easily dissassembled such as LEGO Mindstorms. They instead ask the learner to design an object that can be incorporated into the their life. Such an affordance allows the learner to ascribe personal meaning and significance to it. The artifact then becomes a personal badge of learning experience.

b. Opportunity to experiment with the materials

 it is essential to provide means for students to experiment with the e-textile construction kit before building their designs and that this facility is central to their learning and understanding of programming concepts. 

c. The role of design

Since these types of activities can be time intensive, it requires the learner to focus on design more so than with components that can be easily disassembled, unlike LEGO Mindstorms. This demands planning and forethought from the learner to develop and execute a system that functions. For learners with more understanding, this gives them the opportunity to experiment with different iterations of design application. 

 Buechley, Leah, Nwanua Elumeze, and Michael Eisenberg. “Electronic/Computational Textiles and Children’s Crafts.” In Proceedings of Interaction Design and Children (IDC), 49. Tampere, Finland: ACM, 2006.

Burnham, Scott. “Finding the truth in systems: in praise of design-hacking”. Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts,Manufactures & Commerce, 2009.

Coelho, Marcelo, and Jamie Zigelbaum. “Shape Changing Interfaces.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 15, no. 2 (February 2011).

Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Computational Thinking Teacher Resources. 2nd ed., 2011.

“Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21): Program Soliticitation.” Directorate for Computer & Information Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation, n.d.

Denning, Peter J. “Great Principles of Computing.” Great Principles of Computing, n.d.

“DTC Lab.” DTC Lab, n.d.

Eisenberg, Michael. “Pervasive Fabrication: Making Construction Ubiquitous in Education.” In Proceedings of the Fifth Annual IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops, 2007. PerCom Workshops  ’07, 193-198. IEEE, 2007.

Eisenberg, Michael, Leah Buechley, and Nwanua Elumeze. “Computation and Construction Kits: Toward the Next Generation of Tangible Building Media for Children.” In Proceedings of Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age, 423–426. Lisbon, Portugal, 2004.

Eisenberg, Michael, Nwanua Elumeze, Michael MacFerrin, and Leah Buechley. “Children’s Programming, Reconsidered: Settings, Stuff, and Surfaces.” In Proceedings of Conference on Interaction Design and Children, 1. New York, NY: ACM Press, 2009.

Friedman, Alan (Ed.). Framework for Evaluating Impacts of Informal Science Education Projects. National Science Foundation, March 12, 2008.

Gold, Virginia. “Senator, Congressman Introduce Measure to Address Crisis in K-12 Computer Science Education.” Association for Computing Machinery, September 22, 2011.

Hallnäs, Lars, Linda Melin, and Johan Redström. “Textile Displays: Using Textiles to Investigate Computational Technology as Design Material.” 157. ACM Press, 2002.

Holman, David and Roel Vertegaal. “Organic User Interfaces: Designing Computers in Any Way, Shape or Form.” In Communications of the ACM 51(6), June 2008.

“HTINK.” HTINK, n.d.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). “Operational Definition of Computational Thinking for k-12 Education.” Computing Portal, n.d.

Ishii, Hiroshi, and Brygg Ullmer. “Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits and Atoms.” 234-241. ACM Press, 1997.

Kuznetsov, Stacey, Laura C. Trutoiu, Casey Kute, Iris Howley, Eric Paulos, and Dan Siewiorek. “Breaking Boundaries: Strategies for Mentoring through Textile Computing Workshops.” In Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2957. ACM Press, 2011.

Lichtenberg, James, Christopher Woock, and Mary Wright. Ready To Innovate. Workforce Readiness Initiative. The Conference Board, 2008.

A report that surveyed US secondary school superintendents and potential employers to explore if educators and executives are aligned on the creative readiness of the U.S. workforce. They found some quite interesting disparities. For example, the most relevant here being the distinction between creative problem solving and creative problem finding: 


If this seems nuanced, it is absolutely not. This is the crucial distinction that marks a key argument for computational thinking (which would be creative problem finding, i.e. debugging). It is an approach, a way of thinking that promotes more creativity and innovation, at least in the seasoned eyes of executives. 

 Lovell, Emily. “A Soft Circuit Curriculum to Promote Technological Self-Efficacy”. Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011.

Emily Lovell, a student of Leah Buechley’s at MIT, recently designed a soft circuit curriculum and tested it with an outside educator in an afterschool program targeting 10 – 13 year old students. Her goals and process were well documented, and her materials were extremely clear in design, both in educator content and student design templates. This is significant because the major shortcomings of computational craft programs and curricula are largely based in the expertise needed to effectively execute them. Scalability of such programs depends on developing curricular materials and resources to support educators who may have little knowledge of them. 

Marcu, Gabriela, Samuel J. Kaufman, Jaihee Kate Lee, Rebecca W. Black, Paul Dourish, Gillian R. Hayes, and Debra J. Richardson. “Design and Evaluation of a Computer Science and Engineering Course for Middle School Girls.” In Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 234. ACM Press, 2010.

Mathews, James. “Using a studio-based pedagogy to engage students in the design of mobile-based media.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique 9, no. 1 (May 2010).

Moriwaki, Katherine, and Jonah Brucker-Cohen. “Lessons from the scrapyard: creative uses of found materials within a workshop setting.” AI & SOCIETY 20, no. 4 (March 15, 2006): 506-525.

The Scrapyard Challenge workshops are also a major precedent and inspiration, both for the use of alternative materials and for my personal experience with it. Scrapyard Challenge was developed by Katherine Moriwaki and Jonah Brucker-Cohen in 2004 “as a way to open the interactive design experience to a variety of individuals with differing skill levels.”[10] Participants use found materials and old electronics to repurpose them into designed artifacts, usually musical instruments or wearables.

 “New Youth City Learning Network.” New Youth City Learning Network, n.d.

Papert, Seymour. Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc., 1980.

Redström, Johan, and Lars Hallnäs. “From Use to Presence: On the Expressions and Aesthetics of Everyday Computational Things.” In Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 9(2):106-124, 2002.

Resnick, Mitchel. “Behavior construction kits.” Communications of the ACM 36, no. 7 (July 1993): 64–71.

Resnick, Mitchel, and Brian Silverman. “Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids.” In Proceedings of Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC), 117-122. Boulder, Colorado: ACM Press, 2005.

Mitchel Resnick is a prolific designer of learning toolkits, including initial versions of LEGO Mindstorms and the PICO Cricket. This paper condenses his research into ten lessons to design by:

 Design for Designers; Low Floor and Wide Walls; Make Powerful Ideas Salient – Not Forced; Support Many Paths, Many Styles; Make it as Simple as Possible – and Maybe Even Simpler; Choose Black Boxes Carefully; A Little Bit of Programming Goes a Long Way; Give People What They Want – Not What They Ask For; Invent Things That You Would Want to Use Yourself; Iterate, Iterate – then Iterate Again

 By integrating design principles and drawing on his vast body of experience[15], I hope to: (1) broaden the appeal to different styles of learners by emphasizing self-expression and creativity within construction and (2) cultivate systems thinking skills by having learners consider how they design objects (boxes) that integrate circuits and the type of behavior they want to effect.

Rusk, Natalie, Mitchel Resnick, Robbie Berg, and Margaret Pezella-Granlund. “New Pathways into Robotics: Strategies for Broadening Participation.” Journal of Science Education and Technology 17, no. 1 (2008): 59-69.

Salen, Katie, Robert Torres, Loretta Wolozin, Rebecca Rufo-Tepper, and Arana Shapiro. Quest to Learn: Developing the School for Digital Kids. Boston, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2011.

Sennett, Richard. The Craftsman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Schweikardt, Eric, and Mark D. Gross. “Learning about Complexity with Modular Robots.” In Proceedings of the 2008 Second IEEE International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning, 116-123. Washington, DC: IEEE, 2008.

Thomsen, Mette Ramsgard, and Ayelet Karmon. “Computational Materials: Embedding Computation into the Everyday”. UC, Irvine, 2009.

Vallgårda, Anna, and Johan Redström. “Computational Composites: Understanding the Materiality of Computational Technology.” 513. ACM Press, 2007.

Wilson, Cameron, Leigh Ann Sudol, Chris Stephenson, and Mark Stehlik. Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age. ACM and CSTA, 2010.

Wing, Jeanettte M. “Computational Thinking.” Communications of the ACM 49, no. 3 (March 2006): 33-35.

Wing, Jeanettte M. “Research Notebook: Computational Thinking – What and Why?” The Link (School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University), Spring 2011.

Wing does a particularly good job of explaining computational thinking and its relevance outside of computer science. At the foundation of computer science is computational thinking (CT). There is, however, an important distinction to make between the two: computer science is a field of practice and research while computational thinking permits a broader application of skills and processes to other domains, even if purely semantically.

 Broadly, computational thinking is precisely that: a way of thinking. It is not a defined process like the scientific method or the iterative design process, but is a framework for approaching similar problems and challenges. Most importantly, computational thinking is an inclusive framework: it does not rely on one particular domain for its solutions, but requires a survey and synthesis of many fields to design a solution.

Wyeth, Peta. “How Young Children Learn to Program with Sensor, Action, and Logic Blocks.” Journal of the Learning Sciences 17, no. 4 (2008): 517–550.

“Young Makers.” Young Makers, n.d.

“Youth Media Learning Network.” Youth Media Learning Network, n.d.

Zuckerman, Oren, and Mitchel Resnick. “System Blocks: A Physical Interface for System Dynamics Simulation.” In Proceedings of CHI 2003, ACM 17 (2003): 810–811.

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