In trying to get back to a brain space conducive to the synthesis of events, ideas, and evaluations that need to happen, I revisited some of my research from early fall semester (when I was obsessed with Richard Sennett and Organic User Interfaces). I came across three quotations that were formative then and still hold major resonance with the mission of my thesis:
“I want to make a simple proposal about this engaged material consciousness: we become particularly interested in the things we can change…. People invest thought in the things they can change…”
“…evolution occurs when a new material condition suggests the new use of a new tool.”
Richard Sennett, The Craftsman
“One of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of something is to create it, to construct it, to build it.”
Mitch Resnick, Behavior Construction Kits
Evaluation Materials finished
Exhibition Copy due
Initial reflection (writing component)
Initial coding and evaluation finished
Draft of paper due
Documentation Video draft
Documentation Video final
Finish boxes for installation
Finish Final Draft
Final Project Delivery
These are the BIG ideas I want participants to leave my workshop with, what I have been calling Ground Rules. These will be referenced and reinforced during each stage of the workshop, and will also be used as an initial framework for assessment.
1. Circuits are systems that we design.
– We can use design thinking to construct a circuit out of different materials.
– Good design requires constant testing to fix “bugs.”
– Electricity has rules that we have to incorporate into our design; for example, electricity follows the path of least resistance.
– For a system to function well it needs strong connections
2. Materials don’t have to be hard.
– Circuits can be constructed from materials other than wires.
– Electricity flows through conductive material.
– Some materials are more conductive than others.
– Materials play a key role in appealing to different learners.
3. Break it to make it.
– A switch is nothing more than a break in a circuit.
– A switch requires input and takes action in the form of output; lighting up an LED for example.
– By breaking the flow of electricity in different ways, we can create different behaviors.
4. Science learning is a creative, iterative act.
– By integrating art into science practice, it helps to contextualize science learning in situations outside of the classroom.
– Innovation happens when disciplines intersect and can exchange ideas, practices, and frameworks.
Currently, there is an urgent need to integrate computational thinking and computer science in the classroom and in after school settings. Recently, the DIY/Maker movement has become a force in creating new learning spaces to foster innovation and creativity, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.
This research contributes to the growing movement of educators and designers who are reimagining what circuits and computers can look like and seeks to function as a medium to transform populations of learners and educators into Makers who can find application of their learning above a textbook and beyond a traditional classroom.
BOXES (Building Open Expandable Electronic Systems) is a workshop that introduces educators to a new approach to teaching and learning computational thinking and STEM concepts through craft. Participants collaborate to make “soft”, flexible circuits out of paper, conductive copper tape, and LEDs. Weaving traditional craft techniques with smart materials creates new points of entry that blur the boundaries between craft and computation, low and high technology, and art and computer science.
//Be warned!! It’s a long one…
This shift in focus emerged from a variety of factors. I like to think of it as debugging the delivery process. In a nutshell, I am not completely turning away from my original ideas, but I do think that in order to effectively realize them, there needs to be conversation on both ends. I’ll start with the first seed.
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Well, for the most part: