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Meaningful Making (27 May 2016)


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A talk about making and design, and how to support them in educational setting

Published in: Design
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Meaningful Making (27 May 2016)

  1. 1. Meaningful Making Dr. Clifford Choy School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 27 May 2016
  2. 2. Outline • Making and Designing • Supporting infrastructure • Design for Disadvantaged • Q&A
  3. 3. Making
  4. 4. Making • Turning ideas into tangible/perceivable form • Materials, Tools, Processes • Not merely about production and fabrication, but also involves self-learning, problem-solving, exploration, experimentation and critical thinking • Learn, create, share • Do-it-yourself (DIY) with others • Not just in local communities in old days, but through Internet to collaborate with people around the world • Do-it-yourself (DIY) with technology • Not just with hand tools, but with digitally-enabled tools
  5. 5. Make = DIY with Technology • Online platforms for learning, sharing and acquiring resources
  6. 6. Make = DIY with Technology • Personal and digital fabrication
  7. 7. Make = DIY with Technology
  8. 8. Make = DIY with Technology • Materials, components, modules, systems range-sensor-to-gdc-hopes-to-put/
  9. 9. Maker Movement • Growing culture of hands-on making, creating, designing and innovating • Despite its diversity [in makers’ interests], the movement is unified by a shared commitment to open exploration, intrinsic interests and creative ideas • When I talk about the maker movement, I make an effort to stay away from the word “inventor” – most people just don’t identify themselves that way. “Maker”, on the other hand, describes each one of us no matter how we live our lives, or what our goals might be. Peppler, K., Bender, S. (2013) Maker movement spreads innovation one project at a time. Kappan, v95, N3, pp22-27. Retrieved from Dougherty, D. (2012). The Maker Movement. Innovations, v7, n3, pp11-14
  10. 10. MakerFaire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  11. 11. MakerFaire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  12. 12. FabFest Boston (8-9 Aug 2015)
  13. 13. Maker Faire Hong Kong (28-29 Nov 2015)
  14. 14. Youth in Innovation, San Mateo Innovation Week 2016, 19 May 2016
  15. 15. “making” The Experiential Learning Cycle [Kolb and Kolb, 2005] Kolb, A., Kolb, D. (2005, May 15) The Kolb Learning Style Inventory – Version 3.1 2005 Technical Specifications. Retrieved from
  16. 16. Why “Making” is Important? (1) • Re-connect us to the material world Crawford, M. (2006). Shop Class as Soulcraft. The New Atlantis. Retrieved from Skilled manual labor entails a systematic encounter with the material world, precisely the kind of encounter that gives rise to natural science. This history provides a nice illustration of a point made by Aristotle: Lack of experience diminishes our power of taking a comprehensive view of the admitted facts. Hence those who dwell in intimate association with nature and its phenomena are more able to lay down principles such as to admit of a wide and coherent development; while those whom devotion to abstract discussions has rendered unobservant of facts are too ready to dogmatize on the basis of a few observations.
  17. 17. Why “Making” is Important? (2) • Sustainability • Consume less, produce more • Locally produce, locally consume • Self-sustainable community and city (e.g. Fab City, Maker City) • Maintain local and global views • Empowerment • What can be imagined, can be made • “… see the promise of being the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things” (Obama, 2009) • Dare to think big, dare to explore unknown • “Can we build cars in HK?” “Can we build planes in HK?” “Can we do space exploration in HK?” “Can we turn HK into a self-sufficient city?” Obama, B. (2009). Remarks by the President on the “Education to Innovate” campaign. [Press release]. Washington, DC: White House Office of the Press Secretary.
  18. 18. Attributes developed through Making • Tinkering, hacking • Hands-on approach in learning by doing • Exploration and Experimentation • Cross-disciplinarity • Learning through peer and community • Collaboration • Skills, craftsmanship, patience • Learning through sharing to community • “can-do” mindset • Live with failures
  19. 19.
  20. 20. Executive Office of the President,The White House,Washington (2014,June) Building a Nation ofMakers:Universities and Colleges in Pledgeto Expand Opportunities to Make.Retrieved from
  21. 21. Making and Designing
  22. 22. Why PolyU Design? • “Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” • “… design … makes ideas tangible, it [design] takes abstract thoughts and inspirations and makes something concrete.” • Designers think through making • More meaningful if making is associated with people, not just making for the sake of making (Herbert Simon, 1981, as cited by John Hesket, 2009) (Mat Hunter, 2014) Heskett, J. (2009). Creating Economic Value by Design. International Journal of Design, v3, n1. Retrieved from: Hunter, M (2014) What is Design and Why it matters? Retrieved on 5 May 2015 from views/view-what-is-design-and-why-it-matters
  23. 23. and-views/view-what-is-design-and-why-it-matters “making”
  24. 24. Analysis-Synthesis Bridge Model (Dubberly and Evenson, 2011) Dubberly, H., Evenson, S. (2011) Design as Learning - or 'Knowledge Creation' - the SECI Model. Interactions. Jan+Feb 2011, pp 75-79. Retrieved from “making”
  25. 25. “making”
  26. 26. Meaning in Making • “Making” should be based on intrinsic interests • How to make it meaningful to students when making? • How to develop their abilities to “empathize”? • Four Levels of Making: • Making for self • Fun, self-use, solve your own problem, … • Making for someone you are familiar • For your best friend, for your parents, … • Making for others • For your classmates, for your neighbors, … • Making for social good • For disadvantaged group, for local community, for sustainability, for change, ….
  27. 27. STEM/STEAM • Knowledge from Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) to support making • Science – e.g. understanding of properties of materials • Technology – e.g. availability of tools (hardware, software, …) and processes • Engineering – e.g. programming, electronics, CAD • Art – e.g. aesthetics, form, shape • Mathematics – e.g. simulations, algorithms • “Making” provides an engaging way for individual to learn and apply STEAM knowledge
  28. 28. How to make? What can be made? What to make? Why to make? Conceptual strategy to promote Design thru Making • Knowing possibilities with personal and digital fabrication technologies (strength and limitations with each ”technology”, what can be done by combining multiple of those) • Develop tacit knowledge in using different materials, tools, processes • Understanding “users”, identifying opportunities • Evaluate, identify issues and improve STEM/STEAM Design
  29. 29. Supporting infrastructure
  30. 30. Infrastructure to Support Making • Space, tools, machines • Tinkerspace, Makerspace, Hackerspace, Fab Lab • Traditional tools • Digital Fabrication lab, techshop • Software (e.g. Blender, GIMP, Rhino, …) • Materials, kits, platforms • E.g. Material Resource Centre (PolyU JCIT 5-th floor) ( centre), Strawbees (, Arduino • Learning resources • Blogs, tutorials, discussion forums, youtube, …. • E.g. Instructables, Adafruits, Stackoverflow, … • Sharing and collaborative platforms • Git, WordPress, Google doc, Google hangout, YouTube, Vimeo, … • Events for sharing of knowledge • Exhibitions, science fair, fun fair, Maker Faire
  31. 31. Supporting infrastructure Space, tools, machines, materials
  32. 32. Makerspace, Hackerspace, Fab Lab • A space for all people to come to access to tools, usually under a membership system, and may have membership fee • Organize workshops/seminars for knowledge sharing • Attract talents and those who are willing to learn • Promote physical interactions, exchange of knowledge and ideas, collaborations • A community of practice of makers, which in turn attracts people who would like to get help from makers (e.g. those represent local needs) • NOT A SPACE TO SHOW-OFF EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENTS!!!
  33. 33. Futureward@Tatung University, Taipei
  34. 34. Citrus Invention Lab@UC Berkeley, Berkeley (1)
  35. 35. Citrus Invention Lab@UC Berkeley, Berkeley (2)
  36. 36. Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation@UC Berkeley, Berkeley
  37. 37. Some Use Cases for Makerspace/Fab Lab • Talk, demo, workshop • Different types of privilege and abilities for members • Scrap materials for others to use • Volunteers willing to work in exchange for free use • Come to explore and have fun, may be newcomers, may be members • Come to look for collaborators • Want to prototype for a potentially commercializableproduct • Want to share what they have learned, and/or have made
  38. 38. Fab Labs • Fab Lab program from Neil Gershenfeld, Centre of Bits and Atoms, MIT • Since 2002 • More than 672 registered worldwide, some in rural areas, as of 28 May 2016 • A small scale workshop to support digital fabrication • Provide a physical hub for people to meet • Provide an online hub for people to contribute knowledge and share ideas
  39. 39.
  40. 40. Labelec, S.A. (2010) International Benchmarking Study on the Functioning of FABLAB – Proposal for a Business Model. Technical Report no 836/10-MT. Metrology Department, EDP. Retrieved from
  41. 41.
  42. 42. Makerspace/Hackerspace/Fab Lab in HK • Few privately run (DimSum Lab, Lab by Dimension+, MakerBay), more coming • Compare to >200 in ShenZhen • 2 Fab Labs in ShenZhen • 0 Fab Lab in HK!!
  43. 43. Supporting infrastructure Events for sharing of knowledge
  44. 44. Maker Faire • A family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness • For makers to gather, show what they have made and share what they have learned • To demonstrate what is possible • To exchange knowledge and ideas • To inspire • Part of science fair, part of fun fair • You can perform/demonstrate “crazy” things • NOT “Book Fair”, “Computer Fair”, “Animation-Comic and Game Fair” in Hong Kong • NOT a trade fair dominated by traditional sales and marketing • NOT an invention show, NOT a technology expo • NOT a competition
  45. 45. Maker Faire • First launch in Bay Area, USA, in 2006 • In 2014, 119 independently-produced Mini and 14 Featured Maker Faires around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Detroit, Oslo and Shenzhen • 215,000 people attended the two flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York in 2014 • Promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) education
  46. 46. What do you expect in Maker Faire? • Makers show-and-tell their works/projects • Presentation • Demonstration/Performance • Hands-on activities • Workshops
  47. 47. Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  48. 48. Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  49. 49. Supports Three Broad Stages of Makers • Zero to Maker • Arouse interest of those with no experience in making to become a maker • In Maker Faire: Through hands-on activities, through workshops, through inspiring talks, through inspiring works from other makers • Maker to Maker • Sharing of knowledge between makers • Collaborate and access to others’ expertise • Work together on shared platforms • In Maker Faire: Through show-and-tell their projects, through offering hands-on activities and organizing workshops, through interact with visitors and other makers • Maker to Market • Some creations of makers have commercial appeal and get into the market • In Maker Faire: Through presenting their journey to other makers, through collecting feedbacks from visitors on their creations Hagel, J. Brown, J,, Kulasooriya, D. (2014) A Movement in the Making. Deloitte University Press. Retrieved from
  50. 50. Some Facts on Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015 • • More than 200 makers participated • More than 170 exhibits/activities/workshops/talks show-cased/delivered • Estimated 15,000 per day on average visited • 4 local primary schools, 8 local secondary schools, and 1 international school participated; more schools are interested and will join next year • Makers come from HK, Taiwan, mainland China, Japan, France, Barcelona, UK • From embroidery to robotics, from amateur/hobbyists to professionals
  51. 51. Some observations • Most HK people have no concept on a “fair” during which people share their works and knowledge • General impression - “Fair” is about selling things only • We have makers who are good at crafts and would like to apply technology, but don’t know how. We have makers who are good in technology, but don’t know how they can be used to create objects which are useful and appealing. • Many teachers have difficulties in understanding why they have to participate in Maker Faire • This is not a competition. Why join? What benefits? What they may gain? • Many teachers do not talk to those in different disciplines • Many teachers do not know what is “Design” (thought that it is about making things prettier), and haven’t heard of “Design Thinking”
  52. 52. Supporting infrastructure Sharing and collaborative platforms
  53. 53.
  54. 54. Glossary
  55. 55. Design for Disadvantaged
  56. 56. 60 Project title: “Project Positive Play”- Pleasurable Experience for Promoting Positive Emotional Quality with Confidence and Sustainable Development of Disable Kids Hong - 13 year old boy Fong - 7 year old girl Design for Humanities
  57. 57. Support • From school of target users • Speech therapist • Rehabilitation specialists • Interviews with target users • Observations of target users in school • Prototyping, evaluation and feedbacks • From PolyUDesign • Ergonomics, limitations of functioning • Physical computing
  58. 58. Key Issues and Learning • Physical disabilities limit their ability to play, which limit their ability to explore and hence to learn • Existing toys cannot fulfill their needs • Difficult for them to play with others, and with other more capable students • Develop their abilities to use their controllers can greatly improve accessibility to information, hence playful activities should help them to develop these abilities
  59. 59. Design for Visually Impaired • In 2013, supported by The Hong Kong Society for the Blind ( • In 2015, supported by Hong Kong Network for the Promotion of Inclusive Society Ltd (
  60. 60. Support • From supporting organization • Talks on Visual Impairment • Demonstrations and Interviews • Observations • Simulations • Prototyping, evaluations and feedbacks • From PolyUDesign • Design process • Experience map
  61. 61. Key Issues and Learning • Misconception on what can be achieved by VI persons and how they solve their daily problems affect our ability to design • iPhone and other mobile devices (and information technology) offer great help to VI persons in accessing to information • Braille is difficult to learn, and don’t expect all VI persons can read braille • Many VI persons are not born blind, and more important in HK to allow those who become visually impaired in adulthood to adapt • They prefer as little help from others as possible • How can they travel alone? How can they shop? How can they take public transport?
  62. 62. Questions • Can a makerspace with an appropriately mix of makers help to design for certain disadvantaged groups? • How to concentrate those knowledge as learned from the specific context? • Possible to engage those who are familiar with disadvantaged groups in makerspace, with makers to help them solve their problems? • Social innovation!!!
  63. 63. Questions?
  64. 64. Thanks Welcome any suggestions email: Slides available from: 27-may-2016