University of Oulu

Kinnula M., Iivari N., Sánchez Milara I., Ylioja J. (2020) Guidelines for Empowering Children to Make and Shape Digital Technology—Case Fab Lab Oulu. In: Giannakos M. (eds) Non-Formal and Informal Science Learning in the ICT Era. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Springer, Singapore.

Guidelines for empowering children to make and shape digital technology—case fab lab Oulu

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Author: Kinnula, Marianne1; Iivari, Netta1; Milara, Iván Sánchez2;
Organizations: 1INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
2UBICOMP Research Unit and FABLAB OULU, University of Oulu, Finland
3FAB LAB OULU, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2022-09-15


Digital technology design and making skills are seen as important ‘twenty-first century skills’ that children need to learn to become future changemakers, i.e., to manage and master in the current and future technology-rich everyday life. Fab labs (digital fabrication laboratories) are one example of non-formal learning environments where schoolteachers bring children to work with projects on digital technology design and making. Even though the value of fab labs in such endeavors has been acknowledged, the potential of fab labs in empowering children to make and shape digital technology remains poorly explored. This study scrutinizes the current theoretical understanding of empowerment related to design and making and relates that on empirical data of practical work done with children in the fab lab of the University of Oulu. Based on that, we offer theory- and practice-based guidelines for practitioners who wish to empower children to make and shape digital technology in the context of non-formal learning and fab labs. These guidelines should be useful for teachers when planning and implementing children’s work in fab labs as well as for fab lab personnel who help children to conduct their projects, with special emphasis on school visits to fab lab premises.

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Series: Lecture notes in educational technology
ISSN: 2196-4963
ISSN-E: 2196-4971
ISSN-L: 2196-4963
ISBN: 978-981-15-6747-6
ISBN Print: 978-981-15-6746-9
Pages: 153 - 177
DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-6747-6_9
Host publication: Non-Formal and Informal Science Learning in the ICT Era
Host publication editor: Giannakos, Michail
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
113 Computer and information sciences
516 Educational sciences
Funding: We express our thanks to Antti Mäntyniemi for his contribution to this work. This research has been funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No. 787476 (COMnPLAY SCIENCE project) as well as by Academy of Finland project funding under grant agreement No. 324685 (Make-A-Difference). It is also connected to the GenZ project, a strategic profiling project in human sciences at the University of Oulu. The project is supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant #318930) and the University of Oulu.
EU Grant Number: (787476) CoM_n_Play-Science - Learning science the fun and creative way: coding, making, and play as vehicles for informal science learning in the 21st century
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 324685
Detailed Information: 324685 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
318930 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Non-Formal and Informal Science Learning in the ICT Era. The final authenticated version is available online at: