igital technology has radically changed the way people work in industry, finance, services, media and commerce and has urged necessary corresponding changes in educational systems. However there is a lack of progress in the education arena. Hence, recent studies show that high percentages of college graduates can’t find work, the dropout rate is high and new generations are moving back into their parents’ homes after school or college. Nevertheless, the digital trend indicates that today’s grade-school children will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
Nowadays, several studies assure that digital fabrication and making technologies, if coupled with proper learning methodologies such as Constructivism can provide learning experiences that promote young people’s creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving skills, which are essential and necessary in the workplace of the 21st century.
However, as early as 2008 an OECD report remarked that “technology is everywhere, except in schools”. In addition to this, most uses of technologies in education and training today do not support 21st-century learning skills.
In many cases, new technologies are simply reinforcing old ways of training and learning in current school settings and very often they are introduced according to a narrow perception as being suitable only for talented youth or only for Science-, Maths- or Engineering-oriented majors.
Current developments call for a move from this elitism to the recognition that fluency with making technologies represents knowledge and skills valuable for every citizen.
The main concept of eCraft2Learn is based on the premises of learning by making. Learning by making methodology applications have their roots on the Constructivist theory of knowledge and the educational theory. In our project, the Constructivist learning by making methodology is strongly related to the do-it-yourself (DIY) philosophy.
he eCraft2Learn project recognises the potential in digital fabrication and making DIY technologies. More precisely, 3D modelling, 3D printing.
DIY technologies emerge as unique making tools that can create a learning ecosystem for attracting and keeping learners interested and motivated. An indicative scenario of the eCraft2Learn ecosystem from the learners’ perspective is shown in graph.
The Craft2Learn ecosystem, starts with students’ own ideas, gained by exploring the world (stage 1) . Then a planning stage follows where the student explore the resources available and needed for the realization of their idea (stage 2).
The students then engage in a making process that includes brainstorming, iterative designs, trial and errors and reflection upon designs (stages 3 and 4) and finally share their finished projects with the open community (stage 5).