Collaborative Electronic Textile Designs by High School Youth: Challenges and Opportunities in Connecting Crafts, Circuits, and Code

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

FabLearn Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education




Stanford, CA

Publication Date



Most electronic textile (e-textile) activities for beginners focus on making and coding individual projects leaving aside the potentially beneficial interactions that can occur as part of collaborative designs. In this paper, we report on an e-textile workshop with high school youth (ages 14-16 years) who were designing in groups interactive table centerpieces using LilyPad Arduino, LEDs, and conductive thread and fabric. We examined groups' approaches and reflections to two different collaborative structures, assigned roles versus assigned parts, and their interactions around project idea generation and circuit design documentation. In debriefing interviews, students reflected on other critical factors that supported or hindered their collaboration. Finally, we discuss the challenges and opportunities such collaborative designs can offer for broadening participation in coding and making.

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