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Meaningful Making (for L&T Expo 2016 on 9 Dec 2016)


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This is a talk in L&T Expo 2016 on 9 Dec 2016, about relationship between STEM/STEAM, making and design, and encourage teachers to think of how the projects are meaningful to students.

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Meaningful Making (for L&T Expo 2016 on 9 Dec 2016)

  1. 1. Meaningful Making Dr. Clifford CHOY School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 9 Dec 2016
  2. 2. Making (1) • 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/build, share
  3. 3. Making (2) • 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 • Do-it-with-others (DIWO) • Not just with hand tools, but with digitally-enabled tools
  4. 4. “making” “自造” 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
  5. 5. Maker Movement (1) • 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 Peppler, K., Bender, S. (2013) Maker movement spreads innovation one project at a time. Kappan, v95, N3, pp22-27. Retrieved from
  6. 6. Maker Movement (2) • 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. Dougherty, D. (2012). The Maker Movement. Innovations, v7, n3, pp11-14
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. FabFest Boston (8-9 Aug 2015)
  9. 9. Youth in Innovation, San Mateo Innovation Week 2016, 19 May 2016
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. and-views/view-what-is-design-and-why-it-matters “making”
  12. 12. 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”
  13. 13. “making”
  14. 14. 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” and to “understand the context”? • 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, ….
  15. 15. STEM/STEAM • Knowledge from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) to support making • Science – e.g. understanding of properties of materials, understanding of phenomena • Technology – e.g. availability of tools (hardware, software, …) and processes • Engineering – e.g. programming, electronics, CAD • Arts – e.g. aesthetics, form, shape, music • Mathematics – e.g. simulations, algorithms • “Making” provides an engaging way for individual to learn and apply STEAM knowledge
  16. 16. STEAM Yakman, G. (2008). STEAM education: An overview of creating a model of integrative education. In Pupils' Attitudes Towards Technology (PATT-19) Conference: Research on Technology, Innovation, Design & Engineering Teaching, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. Maker Faire (1) • 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
  19. 19. Maker Faire (2) • 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 • 150,000 people attended Maker Faire Bay Area in 2016 • Promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education
  20. 20.
  21. 21. Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  22. 22. Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015 (28-29 Nov 2015)
  23. 23. • 1st briefing on 13 Dec at 7:30pm •
  24. 24. Some Contests/Activities Through MFHK2017 • Nerdy Derby • Let’s Build Something (Really) Big Together • Electric go-kart • Bamboo Pavilion • For engaging with primary and secondary schools, and also with tertiary institutions and general public
  25. 25. Nerdy Derby • “The Nerdy Derby is a no-rules miniature car building and racing competition. With a larger, undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.”
  26. 26. Nerdy Derby • Goal – to make a car which can run through the whole track • Appeal to kids, just for fun • But a lot of science behind it • cars
  27. 27. Let’s Build Something (Really) Big Together • Goal - “Make something Really Big” and “Together” • Contest aiming at primary and secondary schools • Suitable for students from Arts background, but can also include STEM • Appeal to both boys and girls • Show-and-tell, exhibition, performance • Certificates of participation, trophies and prizes •
  28. 28. Possible ideas: Big Heads
  29. 29. Possible Ideas: Costumes with Moving Parts Minion-Halloween-costume/ out-of-makedo-and-cardboard-/
  30. 30. Maker Faire Hong Kong 2015, 28-29 Nov 2015
  31. 31. Electric go-kart • Goal – create/customize a one-seat electric go-kart • Contest aiming at primary and secondary schools • Suitable for students from Arts background only, but can also be included STEM • May appeal more to boys • Exhibition, race, test-drive, show-and-tell, parade • Certificates of participation, trophies and prizes •
  32. 32. PVC pipes
  33. 33. Bamboo grown-straight-from-the-ground/ renewable-bamboo-be-as-strong-as-carbon-fiber-for- lightweight-cars
  34. 34. Metal Chassis build-a-go-kart/
  35. 35. Wooden Frame 10
  36. 36. Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 Maker Faire Taipei 2016
  37. 37. Bamboo Pavilion • Goal – create a bamboo structure collaboratively (with architects, volunteers, university students and students+teachers from primary and secondary schools • Use of sustainable materials, and promote its use not only as temporary structures but as permanent use • Training workshops for learning skills on creating joineries, and contribute to design and construction
  38. 38. 活動名稱:廟圷村木工與竹藝工作營 活動日期:2016年7月8日 - 17日 舉辦單位:廟圷村+四川綠耕社工站+郭子怡(Kuo Jze Yi)
  39. 39. 44 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
  40. 40. 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 PolyU Design • Ergonomics, limitations of functioning • Physical computing
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. 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 (
  43. 43. Support • From supporting organization • Talks on Visual Impairment • Demonstrations and Interviews • Observations • Simulations • Prototyping, evaluations and feedbacks • From PolyU Design • Design process • Experience map
  44. 44. 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?
  45. 45. Notes • Meaningful if students/teachers understand the value of the ”make- things” (and sometimes the process of making) to the stakeholders • Questions : • What aspects are meaningful to you or your students? • From your experience, any other ways to effectively engage your students to make?
  46. 46. Thanks Welcome comments via email: