University of Oulu

Norouzi, B., Sharma, S., Kinnula, M. et al. Enabling children’s genuine participation in digital design and fabrication: instructors’ perspective. Int J Technol Des Educ (2023).

Enabling children’s genuine participation in digital design and fabrication : instructors’ perspective

Saved in:
Author: Norouzi, Behnaz1,2; Sharma, Sumita1; Kinnula, Marianne1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Fab Lab Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-10


Digital fabrication laboratories (Fab Labs) are accessible to the public, including children and families. However, a variety of technical skills, tools, and expertise are needed in these spaces, and Fab Lab staff—instructors working there—are in a key role in helping Fab Lab users. There is, however, a lack of research on how these instructors can inspire children’s genuine participation in Fab Labs. We analyze the challenges faced by four instructors during two months of Fab Lab workshops with 7–12-year-old children. The children worked in child-only or child-parent groups on informal digital design and fabrication activities. Based on genuine participation principles derived from the literature, we designed our workshops, which included the creation of instructor guideline. At the end, we developed a post-workshop framework in which the instructors provided feedback about their performance and experiences. We provide recommendations to help instructors support children’s genuine participation in digital design and fabrication.

see all

Series: International journal of technology and design education
ISSN: 0957-7572
ISSN-E: 1573-1804
ISSN-L: 0957-7572
Issue: Latest articles
DOI: 10.1007/s10798-023-09856-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
222 Other engineering and technologies
Funding: The project is supported by the Research Council of Finland (grant agreements No. 318930 and No. 324685, Make-A-Difference) and the University of Oulu. This research was additionally funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (grant agreement No. 787476, COMnPLAY SCIENCE). This work is also connected to the project, Participatory AI with Schoolchildren (PAIZ), funded by the Research Council of Finland (grant agreement No. 340603), at 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)
340603 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit