Kaiju Kangas, Department of Education, University of Helsinki, Finland
In today’s world, technology is all-pervasive and daily apparent around us either directly or through various media. Therefore, students’ basic understanding of how technology affects the world and how we exist around technology should be cultivated from early stages of education. Diverse making activities with digital and traditional technologies could provide powerful means for constructing this kind of understanding. However, there is only little research available on how learning through making could be nurtured and implemented among very young students.
The present, ongoing study examines learning through making with various technologies in pre-primary and primary education. Students aged 6–9, from three schools, participated in longitudinal, transdisciplinary making projects combining Finnish traditions in craft, design and technology, science, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), with the methods of digital fabrication and hands-on learning. In a pilot study conducted in Grade 1 (spring 2018), students created handcrafted miniature worlds around their 3D-printed objects. In the following projects (spring 2019), students from Grade 1–2 will design and construct moving toys, and students from Grade 0–1 will create puppet animations about future cities.
The data collected from the school projects (e.g., students’ and teachers’ project documentation, questionnaires, interviews) will be analyzed in order to describe the implementation of young students’ making and technology projects. Further, the study aims to explore the facilitation of such projects, as well as to discuss how very young students are able to learn and construct meaning through making activities.
Keywords: learning through making, technology education, STEAM-education, pre-primary education, primary education