Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maria's Concept map with DIY links

"Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well, while the ideal of the new economy is to be able to learn new things, celebrating potential rather than achievement." (Crawford, 2009, p.19)
For this week, I updated my concept map... once again :) The new color for this week's readings is yellow (see image below). My initial understandings of the concept of DIY was mainly related to the creation of useful objects, e.g. going to IKEA and buying the parts of a table and then assembling it yourself. As I got to learn more about this type of work in relation to the arts, I came to understand what Gershenfeld characterized to be "useful arts". So DIY can also be a form of art, through which we can create anything we want, with the tools and materials we have available, and sometimes conveying some sort of messages (other times the product is simply decorative).

Click on the image to view the map. You can also see it HERE.

With the reading around LilyPad and all the materials on Computational Sketchbook, the conductive paint, the Living wall, I am realizing the potential that these DIY projects have, which is not only utility (some have no practical utility) but also creative, personal expression. One can improvise and create or sorts of stuff, like for example the sketchbook that Buechley presented. Indeed, digital elements are brought into the real world and become embodied in it, through our interactions with them. I mean, the LilyPad is a very interactive digital tool that becomes one with the real world, as we manipulate it and move it around as we would with a battery, or another object.

What would be interesting to explore, apart from the potential for creativity, is the potential for learning with such technologies. For example, learning about circuits through these practices is a very powerful way of engaging students in complex and difficult concepts in the classroom. What would that mean for formal learning environments? How would we introduce such technologies to teachers and also a curriculum that responds to the needs of the school?

I think that the future of such technologies is promising in relation to the affordances provided. We are heading towards a participatory culture that is open and welcomes new opportunities of crafting, as Crawford says in the quotation at the beginning of this blog. The examples in the readings and in the videos of this week are inspiring for new kinds of creation and participation. For example, storytelling would be greatly expressed and communicated through projects like LilyPad and materials like conductive paint. If I had an opportunity to create something with those, it would probably be a story but at the same time, with taking lots of screenshots and videos throughout the process and create a video in the end showing both the creation process and the message/story I would like to communicate...


  1. Nice extensions of your previous concept maps -- it just keeps growing! Have you seen Ikea Hackers? www.ikeahackers.net I thought of it as I read your opening paragraph here. I think it's great especially for all of interested in doing low-cost interior design...

  2. Maria, when you are finished with the concept map, you should consider printing it. It is very pretty and would make a great piece of geeky art =)