Digital design and fabrication in education

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Invited talk
Shiraz University, March 14, 2015

Daniel K. Schneider

TECFA, Faculty of psychology and educational sciences
University of Geneva

Digital design and fabrication

Menu of the talk:

  1. Makers and making movements
  2. Digital design & fabrication in education
  3. Getting started
pict Download Owl on Lego and print it I assembled an owl with a Lego model and shared online

Diversity of design and fabrication movements:

  1. FabLabs
  2. Makerspaces
  3. Hackerspaces
  4. Public Labs
  5. Techshops
  6. Wetlabs/Biohackers
  7. Workshops in schools
  8. .....

Common denominator = MAKING

Participants of the maker movement:

Design and fabricate interesting objects

Share, adapt and mix designs

Engage in shaping the environment

Think accross borders


Are on a mission ...

Ambitious rather top-down initiatives to bring making to a community.

The Fab Lab charter simplified:

pict An international network

Fablab Amsterdam (oldest in Europe)

pict Machine park (2014)

Carbon Fablab (oldest in Iran)


Fablab Amsterdam example

pict Fashion design with a laser cutter (2014)


Urban "bricolage" with a perspective

no political purpose

spirit tied to Make Magazine

Now imagine a long tail of things: physical goods created with the web's digital innovation model. That's the maker movement.(Wired)



Focus on programmable objects

Bottom-up organization

Difficult to define ....

A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art; can meet, socialize and collaborate.
In general, hackerspaces function as centers for peer learning and knowledge sharing, in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures. They usually also offer social activities for their members, such as game nights and parties.

pict Hackerspace Brussels
pict Raum Zeit Lab

Public labs

Communities where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.

Public labs are/provide

  1. A community of tool contributors
  2. A repository of experimental tools
  3. A network of local groups
  4. An open data archive
  5. Free and open source software to analyse collected data
  6. A platform to build collaborations and index projects

See also:

pict Public lab tool financed by Kickstarter

Back to education (and research)

The "Pasteur problem"

The Pasteur quadrant (Stokes, 1997)
not science science
Applied Edison (invention) Pasteur (both)
Not applied School knowledge Bohr (pure theory)

"Pasteurs" are missing.

Schools need making

We need STEAM !

STEAM = Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics

It's coming

pict Design and technology is part of the UK curriculum

Elsewhere, extra curricular

pict 1-day event to interest girls in engineering

Creating tangible objects is better than educational robotics

How to start (1)

Get some gear Then...
pict Free online documentation exists
pict Free online tools exist

How to start (2)

Digital design and fabrication is not easy

It will take time and it requires thinking

Design activities could start

How to start (3)

Open a commercial TechShop

Sponsor techshop creation in Universities and vocational schools

Help integration design and fabrication with other subjects

Some of my stuff and contributions

pict Conference embroidery
pict Lego for PHD students (1)
pict Lego for PHD students (2)
pict Castle kit Based on
pict Geometry visualization (Julien DaCosta)

Some links

Text books