A study of the multi-generational relationship with making through mediated designing in collaborative, digital environments: implications for learning and open access fabrication

Denise Milne, Sam Vettese, Paul Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

In this paper, the researchers investigate the various ways in which school-aged, ‘Net Generation’ children learn in non-linear, mediated, collaborative ‘making’ environments enabled by online communities of citizen practitioners and maker groups. In addition, the study investigates these learning methods in relation to children’s future attitudes to formal education and their engagement with open access digital fabrication facilities.

The research draws on primary data obtained from the observation and analysis of children who attend three-dimensional (3D) printing clubs hosted by one of the authors. These clubs target at children who have just begun formal school education, from the age of six. The clubs are informal and relaxed, allowing a great deal of creative freedom. Thus, the children can be observed in as natural a state as possible. They have access to 3D printers, computer-aided design software and 3D printing pens to explore various technological and design processes. They can choose to work together or alone, and participate in group discussion in an unforced way. The clubs are regular, weekly events, ensuring that the excitement elicited by access to these novel tools does not alter the children’s natural behaviour and obscure the implications of such behaviour for learning and open access fabrication.

The research concludes with an analysis of the educational benefits of shared design practices and digital fabrication and their unique potential as tools for progressive education in the learning spaces of the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCumulus Hong Kong 2016 - Cumulus Working Papers
Subtitle of host publicationOpen Design for E-very-thing
PublisherHong Kong Design Institute
Pages23-30
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-60-0081-7
ISBN (Print)978-952-60-0080-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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