Building Collaborative Electronic Textile Designs: Lessons Learned From a High School Workshop

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting


American Educational Research Association


Washington, DC

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 14-15 years) who designed in groups interactive table centerpieces using LilyPad Arduino, LEDs, 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 making and coding.

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