Mechanics and Digital Fabrication

Discovering User-Oriented Design Potentials in the way Children Interact with Artifacts

This student semester project sets out the present potential of children’s playful encounter with different artifacts, and the manner in which they manage to collaborate with peers when exploring limits and possi- bilities within the artifact at hand. Looking into the natural togetherness and engagement of children and combining these perspectives in to a learning-design that support playful participatory design when working with digital fabrication tools in a learning context.

About the demo
We have spent more than 50 hours during the month of April 2014, doing ethnographic observations, looking into how different groups of children and learners aged 5-7 interact with each other and with different artifacts while being; in school, in recess, in preschool, in after school clubs, and at the playground outside the school context. We have chosen this specific age group be- cause they are not yet socialized into the formal setting of an educational situation.

The main topic of our project is playful participatory design with a didactic intend. We believe children’s natural playful- ness and togetherness can support digital fabrication. Children make sense of their world through play and we are curious to know, how this finds expression in the approach children have when assessing a new project. We want to see how children structure an assignment and become digital designers using everyday life me- chanics, digital and fabrication tools in the process.

By using the inputs gathered from our workshop we are aiming to make a learning design that supports digital fabrication in various ways. We have no intention of closing our design to one specific fabrication tool or technology on the contrary our learning design will be an open process that will bring digital fabrication into learning spaces. The design supports the natural to- getherness among children, which we believe is going to be a core feature for future learners. Learners need to have the availability of various ways of enhancing their learning projects with digital fabrications, not being rigidly fixed by them.

The project will be presented through a short video- pitch supported by a visual-poster.

Download demo poster

Presented by:
Asbjørn Skovsende – MA student in ICT-based educational design, Aarhus University.
Helle Hein – MA student in ICT-based educational design, Aarhus University.
Pernille Troelsen – MA student in ICT-based educational design, Aarhus University.
Rikke Toft Nørgård – Center for Teaching Development and Digital Media.