Full Papers

Saturday sessions

Full Papers A: Building content knowledge through making

Location: Cowin Auditorium
Chair: Megan Hamilton

A Mixed-Methods Approach to Investigating Proportional Reasoning Understanding in Maker-Based Integrative STEAM Projects

Juan Torralba

This paper reports findings from a Maker-based STEAM project, investigating how participation in Maker-based activities impact students’ understanding of grade-level proportional reasoning state standards. In this pilot implementation, thirty-one students enrolled in iTEAMS, a semester-long Maker-based integrative STEAM course. Students worked in collaborative teams to complete three projects. Artifacts, final products, and oral presentations were collected from the Geometric Moving Art project and examined for the students’ application of proportional reasoning standards and proficiency level demonstrated at the end of the project. Findings revealed that while pre- and post-assessments did not show a significant increase in mean scores, students demonstrated proficient understanding of proportional reasoning standards through their final products and oral presentations.

A Revaluation of How We Think About Making: Examining Assembly Practices and Artifact Imagination in Biomaking

Debora Lui, Yasmin Kafai, Justice Walker, Sheri Hanna, Karen Hogan and Orkan Telhan

While much research focused on making emphasizes digital and tangible media, few studies have explored making with biology, or biomaking, where people use cells as fabrication units to grow or “make” desired materials for designing real world applications. This lack is especially glaring considering how biomaking and related industries are often aligned with a growing push toward sustainable production as a way of addressing the pressing environmental issues of the day. In order address how maker frameworks could be used as a productive way of bringing biomaking into K-12 contexts, we report on the design and implementation of a biomaking workshop where teams of high school students both assembled a physical biosensor and imagined applications for this technology to address real world issues. Using classroom observations, analysis of classroom projects, and focus group interviews, we examined student experiences and perceptions of these activities in order to ask: What the affordances and challenges of biomaking in supporting maker learning, especially with regard to the less common practices of assembly and imagining? In the discussion, we review what we learned about facilitating biomaking in K-12 setting, as well how our analysis led us to a revaluation of the often crucial but neglected role assembly plays in more ‘typical’ maker activities, and the possibilities for enriching maker activities by including design prototyping and imagination.

Recognizing Possibilities of Computational Thinking When Teaching First-Degree Equations: A Classroom Case

Luciana Barbosa and Marcus Maltempi

This work aims to present a hands-on activity for the first-degree equations. The activity was applied to a reinforcement class of the K-8, in a public school in Birigui, São Paulo, Brazil. The activity used the game Balance of Equations, built on the Scratch programming platform with the objective of teaching the initial ideas of first-degree equations to a class with a learning gap in this subject. The planning of the activity was divided into three phases, with the intention of starting from an analogy to the principle of equivalence of an equation, reaching the algebraic transcription of an equation through activities of manipulation of the game code. Seven concepts related to computational thinking with strong potential to be worked during the activity were identified. Therefore, besides the presentation of the classroom case, this article identifies these seven concepts, analyzing how they could be developed during the application of the activity, seeking to answer the following question: How can computational thinking skills be explored through hands-on activity for the teaching of equations? The analysis showed that hands-on activity proposed has great potential to explore the seven skills identified here, thus contributing to the Computational Thinking articulated to the teaching of mathematics to create a productive and creative environment of teaching and learning.

Water, Levels, and Loops – Evidence of Teens’ Emerging Understanding of Systems While Designing Games

Priyanka Parekh, Elisabeth Gee, Kelly Tran, Earl Aguilera, Luis E. Pérez Cortés, Taylor Kessner and Sinem Siyahhan

In recent times, there has been a surge of interest in both learning through design and learning systems thinking. Game design is well accepted as a rich learning environment (for example, Cai et al. 2008; Kafai & Ching, 1998; Tucker-Raymond et al., 2012; Weijers, Jonker, & Drijvers, 2010) and intent gamers, including children and teens, might be well-positioned to design games around environments while exploring both the context and the game as systems. We present a preliminary analysis of emergent systems thinking among teens who were making a board game about water pollution in a game-making workshop. Our findings suggest that through game-making, teens were compelled to think about both games and the context of the game as systems. We discuss implications for nurturing systems thinking as well as understanding of science concepts, and point to the affordances of non-digital games as tools for learning.

Full Papers B: Teaching and mentorship in maker contexts

Location: Milbank Chapel
Chair: Nathan Holbert

“Sorry, I Was in Teacher Mode Today”: Pivotal Tensions and Contradictory Discourses in Real-World Implementations of School Makerspaces

Fabio Campos, Tatiana Soster and Paulo Blikstein

This paper examines tensions present in school-based makerspaces. We argue that, as maker education grows, particular attention needs to be paid to social interactions and discourses, in addition to space design, equipment, and curricula. We report the results of observations and interviews conducted in a recently adopted maker program in California, USA. Our analysis focused on behavioral and organizational aspects of the program, composed by credentialed and non-credentialed educators. Considering that discourses can shape practices, we also examined the vocabulary employed by the educators involved in maker programs, revealing tacit and manifest conflicts in the studied schools. We summarized our findings by describing the major tensions that may arise when maker education programs are adopted within a typical K-12 school environment. We conclude with recommendations for designing and implementing school-based maker programs, focusing on tensions that should be identified and leveraged as generative themes to foster culturally situated debates among practitioners.

Designerly Ways of Learning

Jonan Donaldson and Amanda Barany

This design-based research (DBR) study redesigned, implemented, and refined a multimedia development course for post-secondary students in a teacher preparation program. The original course was created to enhance future teachers’ skills in curricular design using various digital tools. Redevelopment embodied and emphasized the process of design, and ways to create designs for learning that put digital tools in the hands of learners. A theoretical framework connecting constructionist principles, designerly ways of knowing, situated learning, and identity exploration concepts informed curricular redesign and iterative development. This work synthesizes iterations one and two of a larger design-based research project focused on the development of online and hybrid courses grounded in the principles of constructionist learning and the design thinking process.

Proximal and Distal Mentors: Sustaining Making-Expertise in Rural Schools

Alexander Berman, Sharon Chu, Francis Quek, Osazuwa Okundaye, Leming Yang, Elizabeth Deuermeyer, Enrique Berrios, Skylar Deady and Jessica Doss

With the increasing interest of integrating Making into formal settings, like public school classrooms, questions have emerged on how to sustain Making as a practice in these environments. Mentors, who can guide students’ development of Making knowledge and skills, are needed in these classrooms to facilitate Making activities. In rural areas, the need for experienced mentors is often exacerbated by distance of experienced Maker-mentors from the classroom. In this research we studied how distance mentoring can help a group of high-school students in a rural school to Make and manufacture learning materials for an elementary school in their community. Grounded in literature from Lave and Wenger’s communities of practice and Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, the work presented in this paper investigates how mentorship develops in this classroom, becoming less dependent on researchers for guidance and thus becoming more self-sustaining. We discuss how distance-mentors can better train and sustain expertise in Making classrooms, and how our approach may support this mentorship process by aiming mentors and mentees towards a communal goal.

Sunday sessions

Full Papers C: Tools for capturing learning in making

Location: Cowin Auditorium
Chair: Kayla DesPortes

EmoForm: Capturing Children’s Emotions During Design Based Learning

Feiran Zhang, Panos Markopoulos, Tilde Bekker, Martine Schüll and Mpuerto Paule-Ruíz

Emotions can greatly influence the learning process. This paper presents EmoForm, a lesson based retrospective self-report tool for capturing children’s emotion changes over time during Design Based Learning (DBL). So far, emotions have received little attention from the constructivist learning research community (e.g. Maker education, DBL, project based learning). Based on existing approaches for recording emotions and a model of DBL, we constructed EmoForm. We evaluated this instrument during a 3 month-long DBL project at a local school that involved 30 children aged 13-14. Data from 433 completed forms indicate that children are able to use this instrument to capture emotions associated with DBL experiences they engaged in. Our analysis of this data demonstrates that Emoform can help gain meaningful insights for practitioners and researchers regarding children’s experience of learning through design-based projects.

Inclusive AI Literacy for Kids Around the World

Stefania Druga, Sarah T. Vu, Tammy Qiu and Eesh Likith

We observed how 104 children (6-14 years old), from four different countries (U.S.A, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden), imagine smart devices and toys of the future and how they perceive current AI technologies. Children outside of U.S.A were overall more critical of these technologies and less exposed to them. The way children collaborated and communicated while describing their AI perception and expectations were influenced both by their social-economical and cultural background. Children in low and medium SES schools and centers were better are collaborating compared to high SES children, but had a harder time advancing because they had less experience with coding and interacting with these technologies. Children in high SES schools and centers had troubles collaborating initially but displayed a stronger understanding of AI concepts. Based on our initial findings we propose a series of guidelines for designing future hands-on learning activities with smart toys and AI devices for K8 students.

Student Maker Portfolios: Promoting Computational Communication and Reflection in Crafting E-textiles

Debora Lui, Deborah Fields and Yasmin Kafai

Maker activities have a strong focus on creating artifacts as a rich context for learning but offer few opportunities for student makers to articulate and reflect on their acts of learning and making. Yet beyond artifact creation, acts of communication enable novice makers to reflect on their learning and share their ideas and resources with larger creative communities. In this paper we report on our iterative design of a portfolio assessment intended to support computational communication alongside students’ electronic textile productions. The portfolio was implemented as part of an electronic textiles curricular unit in ten computer science classrooms (N=237 students). We discuss our initial impetus for designing the portfolio as well as the revisions made along the way based on analysis of students’ differing motivations and capacities for communicating about their projects, both textually and visually. We report on which design features best supported students’ maker reflections and computational communication, and provide recommendations for future design of maker portfolios and further avenues of research.

What Are the Learning and Assessment Objectives in Educational Fab Labs and Makerspaces?

Yoav Bergner, Samuel Abramovich, Marcelo Worsley and Ofer Chen

We report on the analysis of responses about the benefits of educational Fab Labs and Makerspaces (FLMs) and about claims of student growth and learning in these spaces. We review related literature on assessment in FLMs and on efforts to develop frameworks. Methods of the the current study include the design of the FabLearn workshop, where responses were elicited from practitioners, and mixed-methods analyses of those responses. Results, in the form of the coding guides, are presented, followed by a discussion of the construct categories, alignment between benefits and claims codes, and consequences for coherent assessment in FLMs.

Full Papers D: Designing maker implementations

Location: Milbank Chapel
Chair: Nathan Holbert

Active Learning: The Impacts of the Implementation of Maker Education at Sesc High School in Rio de Janeiro

Charles Pimentel, Paulo Ceotto, Isaac D Césares and Felipe Laranja

This work presents the implementation of a series of activities designed to promote Maker Education at Sesc High School, a boarding school in Rio de Janeiro that provides free, top quality international education to around 500 youngsters from every Brazilian state. A training in Digital Manufacture was offered to the students with the open intention of generating an academic movement towards more meaningful ways of providing education by means of Problem-Based Learning methodologies.
In this context, a case study was conducted with these high school students to evaluate the proposed approach. With the study, it was observed that the students took the lead role in their own process of learning and attained significant results in the projects they developed.

An Investigation of Relevance From Curriculum-Aligned Making in the Elementary School Science Classroom

Sharon Lynn Chu, Brittany Marie Garcia, Elizabeth Deuermeyer, Skylar Deady and Francis Quek

Little research addresses Making as an approach that may impact the relevance of science to students. This paper investigates whether and how students make connections to their everyday life during curriculum-aligned Making activities. We argue that Making, with its focus on hands-on construction and technology, can act a possible bridge between ’school science’, which tends to focus on formal models of science concepts, and ’everyday science’, that addresses directly the application of science concepts. We analyzed videos from an ongoing longitudinal Maker program where Making is integrated into third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classes at public elementary and intermediate schools. Our qualitative analysis revealed eight different ways in which elementary students found relevance in curriculum-aligned science Making activities. The most frequent types of ’relevance’ were the use of analogies and the application of everyday knowledge to aspects of the Making activity. In the Making activities, students drew relevance with six aspects of Making. The Making product or physical design triggered relevance connections most often. We conclude that despite its focus on learning objectives of formal science curricula, curriculum-aligned Making allows students to make connections with their everyday life, and may potentially be used as an approach to make school science more personally relevant for students.

Design Making: A Study of Architectural Sites, State Transitions, and Learning

Bradley Camburn, Amanda Swee, Arlindo Silva and Kristin Wood

The aim of this study is to support the design of academic maker spaces. Observations are made of a make-based introduction to design course for first year university students. Activity state transitions, architectural sites, learning outcomes and their relationships are recorded. A Markov chain, state transition modelling approach is used to capture the sequences of activities undergone by over the 330 student-designer participants during the prototyping segment of a design course. Several field surveys were conducted along with site analysis to support the study. The first survey identifies key features students look for in the architectural design and affordance of maker spaces. Then key sites used in the course are evaluated for these features. Finally, a pre- and post- survey was implemented to determine any correlation between site, activity, and learning outcome. Reported results include: a finite state machine (or probabilistic model of student making activity state transitions); simplified architectural site analyses of key facilities; preferences for site based on activity; and lastly observed correlations between activities, sites and learning outcomes.

Designing for and Facilitating Meaningful Making With Refugee Children

Sarah Lee and Marcelo Worsley

The current political climate has seen the influx of refugees in many economically developed countries. Many of these children face challenges finding meaningful and enriching learning opportunities that foster authentic collaboration and engagement of their home cultures. One way that we aim to tackle this reality is through making. Accordingly, in this paper, we present observations from a workshop that implemented maker culture activities within a summer youth program for 16 refugees (5-17 years old). We examine the process of designing and implementing making sessions in collaboration with facilitators and children, as well as the facilitative moves that emerged throughout the program. We observe unique opportunities and points of discussion for 1) cultural bridging, 2) authentic language acquisition, and 3) meaningful making. Based on our findings, we discuss the lessons learned around embedding making in existing community spaces, the role of facilitation, and finally, the cultural contexts of making.