Making Learning Visible: Connecting Crafts, Circuitry & Coding in E-Textile Designs

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012), Volume 1, Full Papers


J. Aalst, K. Thompson, M.J. Jacobson, & P. Reimann

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First Page


Last Page



We examine high school students' designs with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile (e-textile) construction kit used for designing programmable garments. Each kit contains a microcontroller, sensors and LED and other actuators that can be embedded in textiles. We conducted three workshops with 35 high school youth between 14-15 years in a science museum to document, describe and develop a framework for analyzing student learning. The analyses of workshop interactions, students' artifacts and reflections indicate how the fabrication of stitches, circuits and code reveals the underlying structures and processes of craft, engineering and programming in tangible and observable ways and renders visible how technology is designed and built. We discuss how this situated nature of e-textiles artifact production provides a promising context for student learning and generates new instructional designs of workshops and computational construction kits.

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