Designing a New Nexus

This project, Designing a New Nexus: Examining the Social Construction of Electronic Tools and Materials to Broaden Participation and Deepen Learning, funded by Dr. Peppler’s Early CAREER award from NSF, extends her earlier work on computational textiles (e-textiles) through systematic comparisons across a variety of new tools, materials, and practices used in electronics and computing. The aim is to more fully theorize how the social construction of various tools and materials shapes learning and participation.

By conducting a series of systematic and crosscutting research investigations on new electronic tools and materials, such as toolkits for paper computing (i.e., paper, conductive paint, and electronics), squishy circuits (i.e., Play-Doh and electronics), as well as e-textiles, among others, which: (1) occur in the complexities of real-world settings such as schools and afterschool clubs; (2) include the development of a new set of assessments; (3) illuminate design principles for creating new tools and educational ecosystems to better support learning and equitable participation; as well as (4) the design of new toolkits and parts based on these emergent principles.

Project Lead: Kylie Peppler