Do-it-yourself (DIY) inspired activities have gained popularity as a means of creative expression and self-directed learning. However, DIY culture is difficult to implement in places with limited technology infrastructure and traditional learning cultures. Our goal is to understand how learners in such a setting react to DIY activities. We present observations from a physical computing workshop with 12 students (13-15 years old) conducted at a high school in India. We observed unique challenges for these students when tackling DIY activities: a high monetary and psychological cost to exploration, limited independent learning resources, difficulties with finding intellectual courage and assumed technical language proficiency. Our participants, however, overcome some of these challenges by adopting their own local strategies: resilience, nonverbal and verbal learning techniques, and creating documentation and fallback circuit versions. Based on our findings, we discuss a set of lessons learned about makerspaces in a context with socio-technical challenges.
Sowmya Somanath, Lora Oehlberg, Janette Hughes, Ehud Sharlin, Mario Costa Sousa. 'Maker' within Constraints: Exploratory Study of Young Learners using Arduino at a High School in India. In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA Page: 1-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025849