06 SES 12, Makey: Acess to Digital Play and Technologies for Young Children in Makerspaces
Despite the research showing that makerspaces are able to lead to social inclusion (for a review, see Marsh et al., 2017; Sheridan et al., 2014), some voices claim that this inclusion is more likely an exception and that, ‘the (maker) movement remains an adult, white, middle-class pursuit, led by those with the leisure time, technical knowledge, experience, and resources to make.’ (Barton et al., 2017). The MakEY project is attempting to break down the barriers mentioned by Barton and colleagues, and to engage young children in such spaces. The Romanian case study from the MakEY project, that we will report in this paper, takes this work further, in an attempt to: 1. Identify the intergroup differences in the engagement practices in the makerspace of children of various social-economical backgrounds (as the research have team studied a middle class community (public school), a deprived area (youth center) and a private school pupils group). 2. Identify the ingroup differences of children’s engagement in the common activities of a makerspace – that is in digital versus manual/non-digital activities. The design of the Romanian case study, created around the concept of “Space Academy”, comprises the assembly / creation and launch of a spaceship in the Kerbal Space Program game, alongside with more manual, handicraft activities such as beading, plasticine modelling, drawing and 3D drawing. Moreover, we encourage children to film and document their activities and to create visual data in a collaborative way. One strategy to foster inclusiveness that we identified was in relation to negotiating the object (“boundary objects”, Bowker & Star, 1999) and also the use of ingroup communication and other collaboration strategies. We framed our approach theoretically in the teaching and learning with digital games model (Arnesth et al., in press), located within the larger frame of the post-Vygotskian theory of situating the making as a culturally and historically situated activity (Kontopodis and Kumpulainen, 2018).
Arnseth, H. C., Silseth, K., & Hanghøj, T. (in press). Teaching and Learning with Digital Games. In Game-oriented learning designs. Barton, A. C., Tan, C., & Greenberg, D. (2017). The makerspace movement: Sites of possibilities for equitable opportunities to engage underrepresented youth in STEM. Teachers College Record, 119(7). Bowker, G. & Star, S (1999). Sorting things out. Classification and Its Consequences. MIT Press Kontopodis, M & Kumpulainen, K. (2018) Researching Young Children’s Engagement and Learning in Makerspaces: Insights from Post-Vygotskian and Post-Human Perspectives. Manuscript. Unpublished manuscript. Marsh, J., Kumpulainen, K., Nisha, B., Velicu, A., Blum-Ross, A., Hyatt, D., Jónsdóttir, S.R., Levy, R., Little, S., Marusteru, G., Ólafsdóttir, M.E., Sandvik, K., Scott, F., Thestrup, K.,Arnseth, H.C., Dýrfjörð, K., Jornet, A., Kjartansdóttir, S.H., Pahl, K., Pétursdóttir, S. and Thorsteinsson, G. (2017) Makerspaces in the Early Years: A Literature Review. University of Sheffield: MakEY Project. ISBN: 9780902831506 Sheridan, K., Halverson, E. R., Litts, B., Brahms, L., Jacobs-Priebe, L., & Owens, T. (2014). Learning in the making: A comparative case study of three makerspaces. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4).
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