Short Papers

An Expansively-Framed Unplugged Sequence Intended to Bear Computational Fruit of the Loom

Victor Lee and Heidee Vincent

We report on a late-breaking project that centralizes theMaker practice of loom-based weaving as a locus for un-plugged computational thinking. While unplugged activities are appealing for making computation accessible, they also come with the risk of developing inert knowledge. To address and mitigate that risk, we introduce a new framework that we are developing called “Expansively-framed Unplugged”(EfU) computing education. We report on some initial testing and refinement of a learning sequence that starts with weaving on a loom and ends with optimizing code in Scratch. The testing was done with a school librarian who is going to be implementing a coding program with students at a middle school using this EfU sequence.

Design Thinking With Children: The Role of Empathy, Creativity and Self-Efficacy

Christian Voigt, Elisabeth Unterfrauner, Tamer Aslan and Margit Hofer

One of the main challenges in designing learning activities at the intersection of digital fabrication and solving complex problems is creating a motivating context to keep up children’s engagement with the problem and going through the iterations of design thinking. Based on a four day out-of-school learning workshop with 18 children, we reflected upon ways to boost children’s agency. The main question of our research relates to the interde-pendencies of workshop design and children’s ability to steer the co-design of activities and outcomes. We present first evidence gained during the workshop series and suggest a framework for scenario-based, digital fabrication workshops.

Designing Tools for Observation and Assessment in Makerspaces

Vishesh Kumar, Rebecca Millerjohn and Peter Wardrip

Makerspaces, especially in their diverse proliferating forms, support a broad variety of learning outcomes. There is rich work in attempting to understand and describe these learning goals. Yet, there is a lack of support for practitioners and educators to assess the learning in their events, without extensive video-recording and documentation. In this paper, we present our design iterations at adapting the Tinkering Studio’s Learning Dimensions framework into tools used by makerspace facilitators. These tools are intended to support recording observations, so as to inform the design of events they organize. We find that supporting real-time, informative observation increases granularity of data collected, but also increases the need for training required at the end of facilitators; such tools carry power to transform practice in action. In response, we also present future plans to attempt dealing with current challenges.

Developing New Approaches to Equitable Education for a Growing Diversity of Students at the University

Covadonga Lorenzo and Epifanio Lorenzo

Promoting equitable education among diversity groups of university students is the main goal of a program designed by Fab Lab Madrid CEU, the digital fabrication laboratory based at CEU University, through new learning approaches and open access to digital fabrication facilities. The present paper describes a case study in which architectural students that come to the university classroom with a different background and cultural context, at risk of poverty and social exclusion, engage in on-site and remote access to digital fabrication technologies through a platform designed for the Horizon 2020 European Union Project NEWTON (Networked Labs for Training Science and Technologies). The platform is an innovative tool that provides technology-enhanced learning to increase learner quality experiences for all.

DIY Assistive Technology for Others: Considering Social Impacts and Opportunities to Leverage HCI Techniques

Johanna Okerlund and David Wilson

One way to help address larger scale social and environmental challenges is to help individuals consider the social impacts of making alongside the technological aspects. We investigate the experiences of volunteers who 3D print prosthetic devices for children, focusing specifically on the way they discuss their relationship with the device recipients. We show that while the volunteers understand the social aspect of the experience, their focus is on the functionality. We suggest some techniques, methods, and principles from HCI that can enrich the experience for the volunteers and recipients by broadening the focus to include consideration of the complexities of the human and social experience.

Educating Change-Makers: A Framework for Sustainable Making and Activist Engineering

Kelsey Reichenbach and Brandon Reynante

Professional engineers—often characterized as paragons of problem solving—are typically ill-prepared to adequately address social and environmental challenges as a result of their narrow focus on the technical dimensions of their work. In this paper we present a multi-faceted educational framework that integrates sustainability theories, design thinking methods, and maker education principles. We pull these three components together in an effort to motivate and empower students to become “activist engineers” who develop holistic, systemic solutions to complex social and environmental problems through collaborative making that centers around the collective good. Awareness of sustainability concepts enables problem definition that considers structural features of socio-political, economic, and ecological systems. Design thinking methods provide a guide to empathizing with communities and unpacking and solving complex problems. And maker learning principles support development of personal agency, interpersonal skills, and the ability to create tangible change in the real world. We then describe a short case study of a workshop that was conducted with a high school robotics team which informed the framework presented here. While the study was limited, the results promisingly suggest that the intervention increased students’ concerns about sustainability, encouraged them to think systemically, and helped them develop a sense of agency to tackle sustainability issues in their local community.

Embedding Assessment in School-Based Making: Preliminary Exploration of Principles for Embedded Assessment in Maker Learning

Yumiko Murai, Yoon Jeon Kim, Emily Martin, Peter Kirschmann, Louisa Rosenheck and Justin Reich

Although maker-centered learning in schools has grown rapidly in recent years, the existing assessment approaches often do not meet the needs in assessing the multifaceted learning and development that occur in making processes. This short research paper reports on the design principles of embedded assessment and shares insights gained from working with middle school teachers developing, testing, and examining an embedded assessment toolkit consisting of seven assessment tools and activities.

Exploring Modalities of Reflection Using Social Online Portfolios for Maker-Oriented Project-Based Learning

Monica Chan and Nathan Holbert

This short paper presents an ongoing research project that examines how elementary school-aged students in a maker-oriented, project-based learning environment document their work using a social, mobile online portfolio tool. For this research study, we are interested in how students choose to use certain features of the online portfolio tool to present, explain and reflect on their work. We are also interested in finding out how students present their reflections to do with learning concepts or about their personal emotions in their posts in the portfolio tool. Preliminary results from this qualitative study have demonstrated that students primarily use either video/audio recording or text-based captions or labels to describe and explain their work, and the older elementary school students are more likely to spontaneously reflect on conceptual understanding or emotional feelings related to their projects.

How Science Fiction Worldbuilding Supports Students’ Scientific Explanation

Camillia Matuk, Talia Hurwich and Anna Amato

Creating science fiction can engage both imagination and scientific reasoning. We offer examples of middle school students building science fiction explanations to justify their decisions during a week-long role-playing game (RPG) design workshop. Findings show how worldbuilding—that is, defining the game’s setting, history, and characters—supported students in formulating relevant science questions, integrating various science ideas into complex mechanistic explanations, and articulating and critiquing ideas. They also show the challenges students faced in balancing fiction and science to create credible game worlds; and how differences in participation affect collaborators’ ultimate abilities to explain. We conclude that RPG design has many affordances as a science learning environment, but also some caveats for formal educators to bear in mind.

Maker Education and the Fab Lab Livre SP: Experiences in Social and Environmental Challenges

Eliton Moura and Belmira Bueno

This paper presents some maker’s projects developed by teachers of public educational institutions that took place in a public network of maker spaces in Sao Paulo, the program Fab Lab Livre SP. The common thread uniting these projects is the effort to use the makerspaces as sites in which students do not only learn how to make, but also take advantage of the making activities to reflect on social and environmental issues.

Making Community: Following in the Footsteps of the Thai King

Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth and Nathan Holbert

The goal of this short paper is to take an initial step in exploring a design framework that emphasizes making connections to students’ community and creating relevant cultural connections to their constructionist learning experience. We present and illustrate our design framework using a case study of 4th graders at a low-income school in Bangkok, Thailand designing and building social innovations to solve problems in their community. Inspired by the late Thai King Bhumibol, who was the country’s unifying figure and widely admired as “The Developer King,” students made things that were personally and socially meaningful to their community. Students in this case were creative and innovative in their design effort and reflective of how their achievements doing things that are useful for others aligned with the spirit of King Bhumibol.

Making Connections Work: Studying Family Learning in Hands-On Making

Kimberly Sheridan, Hyle Daley, Christie Byers and Amber Zhang

Parents and children enter learning experiences with individual and social histories that impact their engagement. Educational making environments that are attentive to these histories can support more equitable and inclusive participation. In this design-based implementation research study of family making, we discuss our preliminary analysis of the identity work parents and children engage in during hands-on making workshops. In particular, we focus on shifts or re-evaluations of identities, interests, assets and connections.

“Making” Science Relevant for the 21st Century: Early Lessons From a Research-Practice Partnership

Cheri Fancsali, Zitsi Mirakhur, Sarah Klevan and Edgar Rivera-Cash

The Maker Partnership Program (MPP) is an NSF supported project that addresses the critical need for models of professional development (PD) and support that help elementary-level science teachers integrate computer science and computational thinking (CS and CT ) into their classroom practices. MPP fosters integration of these disciplines through maker pedagogy and curriculum. The Maker Partnership Program was designed as a research practice partnership, where researchers and practitioners collaborate to iteratively design, implement and test the curriculum and professional development (PD). This paper describes the key elements of the MPP and early findings from surveys of teachers and students participating in the program.
Our research focuses on learning how to develop teachers’ capacity to integrate CS and CT into science instruction at the elementary level; understanding whether and how this integrated instruction promotes deeper student learning, interest and engagement; and exploring how the model may need to be adapted to fit local contexts.
We present early survey findings from participating teachers and students. Teachers reported gaining knowledge about and confidence in implementing the maker curriculum in their afterschool programs through the PDs. They anticipated that the greatest implementation challenges would be lack of preparation time, inaccessible computer hardware, lack of administrative support, and a lack of CS knowledge. Student survey results show that most participants were interested in CS and science at the beginning of the program. Student responses to questions about their disposition towards collaboration and persistence suggest some room for growth. Student responses to questions about who does CS are consistent with prevalent gender stereotypes, particularly among boys.

Making With Micro:bit – Teachers and Students Learning 21st Century Competences Through the Innovation Process

Tiina Korhonen, Laura Salo and Kati Sormunen

In this article we present a maker pilot in which Innokas Network introduced the innovation process and the Micro:bit, a programmable device, to Finnish teachers as part of training teachers in supporting students’ 21st century competences. We will discuss maker projects as well as the relevance of the innovation Process in learning 21st century competences in the Finnish educational context.
The Innokas Network works with schools and other stakeholders to develop 21st Century Competences in education. Creativity and innovation are at the center of activities when envisioning the school of the future. The maker related innovation Process and Micro:bit pilot discussed in this paper serve as one example of presenting Finnish teachers with new technologies as part of lifelong learning and 21st century professional development.
100 Finnish teachers participated in a pilot where they received inservice training in the Micro:bit technology and learned to use it as part of an innovation process. Teachers continued working with the technology with their class and reported on their projects with blog narratives as well as research-questionnaires. Students working with the tool answered a questionnaire as well about their experiences. Initial results point to a positive view of the makerrelated innovation process and Micro:bit technology as a way for both teachers and students to learn 21st Century Competences.

Positionality and Belonging: Analyzing an Informally Situated and Culturally Responsive Computer Science Program

Diane Codding, Chrystalla Mouza, Rosalie Rolon-Dow and Lori Pollock

In recent years, there has been increased attention on promoting access to computer science among all students. Our study addresses the underrepresentation of racially minoritized youth in computer science by offering a culturally responsive after-school coding club at a local public library that serves a racially and socioeconomically diverse community. We analyzed facilitator interviews and student focus groups using qualitative data analysis with a focus on facilitator positionality and culturally responsive frameworks. Findings suggest facilitator positionality helped establish affirming, near-peer relationships with participants and situated facilitators as advocates for expanding and diversifying computer science. Additionally, the culturally responsive frameworks helped students to feel a sense of belonging in both the informal learning environment and in the field of computer science.

Remixing Wakanda: Envisioning Critical Afrofuturist Design Pedagogies

Michael Dando, Nathan Holbert and Isabel Correa

While maker education offers a method for increasing interest in STEM domains among youth, underrepresented communities possess a rich cultural history of making and STEM practices too often ignored by popular articulations of making. In this paper we describe the 8-week ReMixing Wakanda Project, which brings together youth of color, artists, designers, educators, and researchers to construct a new vision for a culturally relevant and sustaining STEAM-centered learning and making framework situated in an Afrofuturist design aesthetic. Here we highlight how the design of the physical space, discussions with guest artists, and a collective art construction supported participants as they explored the past to confront the present and imagine futures for and by and about themselves.

Systematic Approach to Develop Sustainable Makerspaces in Resource-Constrained Schools

Rahul Singh and Yoon Jeon Kim

Maker education is bringing hands-on learning to students worldwide, but is largely limited to well-resourced schools. There is a presumption among educators that conducting effective maker learning necessitates the use of expensive equipment, thereby limiting the reach of maker learning and leading it to become inequitable. This research challenges that assumption by conducting design-based research to understand the development of makerspaces and maker mindsets in resource-constrained schools. We investigate systematic factors at play by iteratively developing a model for three interconnected elements of makerspaces: space, activities and materials, and community building strategies. This paper presents preliminary findings from the implementation of the first phase of this model in resource-constrained schools in India.

Twinning Iterative Design With Community Cultural Wealth: Toward a Locally-Grounded, Expansive Maker Culture

Angela Calabrese Barton and Edna Tan

Drawing upon critical justice studies and critical ethnographies in two community-centered makerspaces, we build an argument for how designing for expanded iterations that repeatedly draw from community cultural wealth, supported youth-makers and communities in co-creating an expansive, locally-grounded maker culture. We conjecture that this community-anchored iterative making process is productive in historically underrepresented youth and communities establishing a more rightful presence in STEM-rich making. Two related-foci are unpacked: First, we examine how youth engage in an “expanded” iterative process across the making cycle – what this expanded iterative process is, and how it takes shape as youth move from collaborative ideation through to the afterlife of a maker project. Second, by delving into “moments of expanded iterations” we examine how youth articulate ownership of their making: what that means, how and why, and the subsequent generative spaces that resulted.

What Do We Learn by Observing Collaborative Design Among Cross-Domain, Cross-Role Educators?

Camillia Matuk, Frankie Tam and Jonathan Martinez

Designing with cross-domain, cross-role educators leads to innovations more likely to be adopted and sustained. Yet, there are few opportunities and little guidance to do so. We contrast the challenges and successes faced by two teams of members with diverse roles in education (pre/in-teacher, administrator, graduate student) during a summer institute on designing classroom-based games for learning. Descriptive cases based on video of teams’ collaboration and design artifacts illustrate how members’ differing views on learning impacted their collaborative experiences and the games they produced. Findings contribute to understanding the value and challenges of similar collaborations, particularly given the increasing need for learners and educators to integrate multiple perspectives.

Whose Design Matters? Co-designing Making Activities With and for Hyper-Marginalized Families

Joanna Weidler-Lewis and Cynthia Graville

Making-for-All narratives permeate discourses in education and policy without considering the challenges to implementing programming equitably for all. This paper describes a nascent research collaborative that aims to partner with incarcerated women to design making experiences that support inter-generational STEM learning-through-making. We describe our initial fieldwork in prison, including discussions with incarcerated women regarding their own STEM identities and conceptions of their children’s learning. This work informs our larger effort to explore critical making and expansive learning that problematizes assumed parental roles, normative families, and the right to agency in design and decision making.