Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2014 Issue »

    Electronic Textiles as Disruptive Designs

    Supporting and Challenging Maker Activities in Schools

    YASMIN B. KAFAI, DEBORAH A. FIELDS, AND KRISTIN A. SEARLE
    Electronic textiles are a part of the increasingly popular maker movement that champions existing do-it-yourself activities. As making activities broaden from Maker Faires and fabrication spaces in children’s museums, science centers, and community organizations to school classrooms, they provide new opportunities for learning while challenging many current conventions of schooling. In this article, authors Yasmin Kafai, Deborah Fields, and Kristin Searle consider one disruptive area of making: electronic textiles. The authors examine high school students’ experiences making e-textile designs across three workshops that took place over the course of a school year and discuss individual students’ experiences making e-textiles in the context of broader findings regarding themes of transparency, aesthetics, and gender. They also examine the role of e-textiles as both an opportunity for, and challenge in, breaking down traditional barriers to computing.

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    Yasmin B. Kafai, a professor of learning sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, is a researcher and co-developer of online tools and communities (scratch.mit
.edu, stitchtfest.org, and ecrafting.org) to promote equity and diversity in coding, crafting, and creativity across K–16. Her recent books include Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming (MIT Press, 2014, with Quinn Burke), and Connected Play: Tween in a Virtual World (MIT Press, 2013, with Deborah A. Fields,) as well as the edited volumes Textile Messages: Dispatches from the World of Electronic Textiles and Education (Peter Lang, 2013, with Leah Buechley, Kylie Peppler, and Michael Eisenberg), and Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming (MIT Press, 2008, with Jill Denner, Carrie Heeter, and Jen Sun). Kafai earned a doctorate from Harvard University. She is an elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and a past president of the International Society for the Learning Sciences.

    Deborah A. Fields is an assistant professor of instructional technologies and learning sciences at Utah State University, where she studies how kids make connections across their everyday lives and institutions. Her work focuses on artifacts that students create (like e-textiles) and online communities they inhabit that create intersections between their interests and communities and identities. Fields’s work has appeared in a number of journals, among them the International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning; Mind, Culture, and Activity; Games and Culture; and the International Journal of Science Education. She coauthored (with Yasmin Kafai) Connected Play: Tween Life in a Virtual World (MIT Press, 2013), the culmination of a decade of research on virtual worlds. She is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the Learning Sciences.

    Kristin A. Searle is a doctoral candidate in anthropology and education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies how students’ gendered and cultural identities impact their engagement with computing. Her work focuses on how participating in making activities (like e-textiles) can broaden students’ sense of what computing is and who can do it, with a particular focus on the development of culturally responsive computing pedagogies. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, including the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, Games and Culture, and the International Journal of Learning and Media.
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    Winter 2014 Issue

    Abstracts

    Toward a Relational Perspective on Young Black and Latino Males
    The Contextual Patterns of Disclosure as Coping
    David J. Knight
    The Kinesiology of Race
    MYOSHA McAFEE
    The Maker Movement in Education
    ERICA ROSENFELD HALVERSON and KIMBERLY M. SHERIDAN
    Learning in the Making
    A Comparative Case Study of Three Makerspaces
    KIMBERLY M. SHERIDAN, ERICA ROSENFELD HALVERSON, BREANNE K. LITTS, LISA BRAHMS, LYNETTE JACOBS-PRIEBE, and TREVOR OWENS
    Electronic Textiles as Disruptive Designs
    Supporting and Challenging Maker Activities in Schools
    YASMIN B. KAFAI, DEBORAH A. FIELDS, AND KRISTIN A. SEARLE
    Symposium
    The Maker Movement in Education: Designing, Creating, and Learning Across Contexts

    Book Notes

    How College Works
    Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs

    The States of Child Care
    Sara Gable