Workshop for children 11-14 years old on Micro:bit using E-textiles

On August 31st 2018, the Cyprus Interaction Lab (https://cyprusinteractionlab.com) of the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts of the Cyprus University of Technology, in collaboration with the Research centre on Interactive media, Smart systems and Emerging Technologies (CYENS, https://www.cyens.org.cy/en-gb/) and the MakerSpace Larnaka of the Youth Board of Cyprus (https://www.facebook.com/makerspacelarnaka/), have organized and delivered an innovative workshop for childrenentitled: “Exploring Gender Identity and Micro:bit using E-textiles”.

The workshop took place at the MakerSpace Larnaka of the Youth Board of Cyprus and hosted 24 children. The workshop was successfully delivered by Dr. Jennifer Rode (Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute of Education, UCL Knowledge Lab), Dr. Andri Ioannou (Assistant Professor, CIL Director, Cyprus University of Technology), Dr. Yiannis Georgiou (Post-doctoral researcher at CIL and CYENS), Mrs. Stella Timotheou (PhD Candidate at CIL) and Mr Michalis Hadjitofas (4-year student from the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts).

During the workshop, the children had the opportunity to study and code the Micro: bit, for the creation of e-textiles crafts. The Micro: bit is a small, portable programmable computer which can be stitched into a stuffed animal or piece of clothing, as part of e-textile activities.  Prior research has shown that e-textile activities can help children to develop their creativity, self-expression and innovation, while also fostering children’s collaboration and productive interactions.

According to the participating children, the workshop was novel and interactive, as it combined the notion of programming with a set of creative and hand-on activities related to sewing, art and craft-making.