In collaboration with the Norwegian National Museum for Science and Technology, we conducted small case studies of three different makerspace-practices.
The first was the use of Strawbees (strawbees.com) which are tools for connecting straws and building various physical structures. The second is the use of micro:bit, which is an open programmable development board that enables making a whole range of creations from robotics to musical instruments. Finally, we wanted to examine how young children can make designs that they can print on textiles using specifically designed printers.
In addition to the overall research questions in MakEY, we were interested in examining how children moev between a digital and a physical world and how they are able to make connections in creative ways. This also involved an interest in the skills and knowledge children exhibit, draw on and develop as they engage with material and digital tools.
Finally, we wanted to gain knowledge about how children learn about the opportunities and constraints of materials and digital artefacts. We wanted to do a comparative case-study with to iterations of each activity. In terms of design we wanted to test two ways of framing the activities; one that was open where children more or less could explore on their own and get help when they asked for it, and one that was more structured.
In the more structured approach, students got a more clearly defined problem or challenge that they were supposed to solve. In this setting adults were more active in scaffolding children in their problem solving. In addition we also wanted to recruit a set of parents and their children and work with them over a slightly longer time span to see how children’s creativity and engagement developed and changed over time.
Designing for making across a museum and a kindergarten
Together with the Science and Technology museum in Oslo, our team engaged in design-based research. Through close collaboration with museum educators, early childhood educators and children from a nearby kindergarten, we developed several learning designs involving making. To ensure that our interventions were grounded in actual practices and needs, we started with observing an existing activity in the museum involving the use of bee bots. Then we observed creative making in the kindergarten. From that, we developed an activity where we aimed to foster children’s creative making in relation to the issue of sustainable development.
As part of our design-based research, we conducted three design workshops with partners in the project. In August we conducted a final design workshop with participants and had the children engage in a final iteration of our learning design.
Dr Alfredo Jornet is responsible for University of Oslo’s training in network events and secondments, and of dissemination and impact tasks.
He has experience in qualitative research on technology and creativity across formal and informal learning settings.
Associate Professor Ole Smørdal
He is responsible for University of Oslo’s dissemination and impact tasks.
He has experience in participatory design and design based research. He is interested in development of museum practices and technology, fostering learning across formal and informal settings.
Hans Christian Arnseth
Associate professor Hans Christian Arnseth is the contact person (CP) for the University of Oslo. He coordinates the UoO participation in the project and is particularly responsible for training and knowledge transfer.
Arnseth is experienced in using CHAT and qualitative methods to study learning and technology in and across a variety of settings.
Professor Ola Erstad will serve as expert contributor at all stages in the project.
He has in-depth expertise in the fields of ICT and learning, literacy, and young people’s learning across formal and informal settings. He is a trusted contributor in many national and international knowledge sharing and policy development settings.
Norwegian National Museum for Science and Technology
Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen.