University of Oulu

Designing and making in a school context : a process model and practical insights

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Author: Nurmela, Tapio1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 12.2 MB)
Pages: 65
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Nurmela, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-12
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Kinnula, Marianne
Reviewer: Kinnula, Marianne
Rajanen, Dorina


Teaching 21st century skills, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects and programming for children is the future in education. This thesis was inspired by the project ordered by INTERACT research unit from the University of Oulu, and the goal was to familiarize school children with programming and digital fabrication while collecting research material for INTERACT research unit. Research unit wanted a research material on a project that combines design and making in school context and utilizes University of Oulu Fab Lab. The idea was to conduct a making (digital fabrication) project with children and research it. This thesis is based on the experiences of the project and aims to answer a research question: “What kind of process model supports design and making in school context?”.

This research was done using qualitative research methods. This thesis views the social aspects of people in the school system, their relationships, goals, and actions. A lot of data was collected about human beings, their experiences, and reflections. Sessions with children were video and audio recorded but also reflected by project members and children themselves. Gathered data was analyzed using content analysis. The main result of this thesis is a reflective design process model that supports design and making in the school environment. In addition to that, this thesis explain what kind of actors are involved in the process, such as children, teachers, schools, researchers, parents, university and so forth. It describes the goals that needs to be taken into account; most importantly from curriculum and teaching point of view, but also from the IT (Information Technology) point of view. This process could generate more skillful programmers, designers, makers, if this kind of design and making projects could be introduced to school environment. Thesis also enlightens the working in the school context and the pros and cons relating to it. School context is best for projects that focus more on learning goals than end results and outcomes. Results are finally analyzed in light of having digital fabrication and making part of everyday school work.

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Copyright information: © Tapio Nurmela, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.