Workshop: Curating K-12 Digital Fabrication Curriculum with SCOPES-DF at Fab14France

During Fab 14 France, I took part in a workshop which allowed FabLab designers and associates to brainstorm the topic of Digital Fabrication for K-12 Curriculum.

With the guidance of SCOPES-DF (Scaling a Community of Practice for Education in STEM through Digital Fabrication), we split into groups and then looked at an existing project from a high school.

Ours was called “Remix the Kicks”.

The current project allows the students to look at all aspects of the shoe and its use. Everything from shoe design and construction, to measuring the number of steps they make daily. The project has been looking at working in groups, sketching their ideas, drawing using CAD programs, modelling their design in clay and even exhibiting their designs.

The ideas we brought to the table were to look further into the shoe:

  • Recycling and circularity of the shoe design e.g.: Where does plastic and rubber come from? How are polymers made? Are they or how can they be recycled?
  • Material contents of the shoes components e.g.: Whats it made from? Does it have cotton in it? Where did the cotton come from?
  • Production of the shoe e.g.: which machines were used to make it? What are the machines in textile production? How can you design a shoe on the computer

This leads to linking their learning back to school subjects that they could have or will study such as:

  • History of cotton, History of cotton farming, Affects of the agriculture and on the economy
  • How to grow (cotton) plants and looking at plant biology.
  • Chemistry of Plastics and dyeing fibres
  • Production machines and basic topics relating to physics and even engineering

As a group we wanted to also come up with a way the schools could use their FabLabs and resources to make this project a feasible reality for their students and teachers.

We set about doing two things:

  1. To find a shoe pattern and fabric that could be lasercut and laser engraved, then assembled afterwards using traditional or digital techniques.
  2. To create a tool which could be design, cut and used within the school environment on this project amongst others.

Below you can see our results from the 4hours of time together over the 2 day workshop.

In the future I would like to create an Instructable or downloadable pattern and guide for how to digitally fabricate a shoe as a project as well as the subjects it connects to and the learning outcomes.

Gallery 1

Here you can see we chose a baby shoe pattern. We chose it for speed of cutting and also ease of construction afterwards. It is a small alpargata style shoe.

We laser engraved the fabric in the areas we needed on the toes. We also laser cut each piece out for the base and heel part of the shoe.

*Image shortly to be added with the constructed shoe*

  1. They students would learn about shoe construction and going from 2D to 3D
  2. They would learn ways in which they can creare a textile pattern or artwork, which could potentially painted or embroidered by had or digitally as you see here.
  3. There would also be the understanding and appreciate of the time, process and craftsmanship into creating an everyday object like a shoe.
  4. The historical facts and revolution in processes would a demonstrate change in how things are made and its influences now.

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Gallery 2

Creating a tool. We chose a weaving loom as this would be an object which could be used again and again as well as in different ways.

The idea is to wrap the yarn around the outer grooves or through the holes in the edge to create a woven base. Then to weave in a spiral, starting from the centre, to the outer edges until you have your desired size of circle.

The final woven piece could be an applique patch anywhere on the shoe or at the toe/heel for comfort or padding. The Looms can be made square, rectangular on even in any other shapes.

  1. This would teach the children that not only can they design their own tool, as it can be made from a drawing into a CAD file, but also that it can be a useful designed object or product.
  2. It would also allow the children to understand how woven fabric can be made on a basic level.
  3. Finally it provides them with the understanding and experience of manual dexterity and the ability to create something by hand. Or to combine the traditional and digital fabrication worlds.


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