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Electronic textiles, which integrate computation with fabrics through a redesigned interface of microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators, have expanded possibilities not only for engineering, fashion, and human-computer interaction but also for computer science education itself. While individual studies involving electronic textiles have shown promise to diversify participation, raise interest, and deepen learning in computing, especially for female students, we recognized a need to synthesize findings across studies to understand the overall contribution of electronic textiles to computing education. In this article, we report our findings from a meta-synthesis of 64 educational electronic textiles studies to answer the following questions in computing: (1) Did electronic textiles broaden access and participation? (2) How did electronic textiles support learners’ interests and sustain participation? (3) What and how did students learn from electronic textile projects? Our meta-synthesis revealed that although electronic textiles successfully broadened access, supported learners’ interests, and introduced basic computational concepts to novice learners, questions around equitable participation and deeper disciplinary engagement persist. We discuss directions for future design and research efforts to explore the full potential of e-textiles in computer science education.
ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) – Association for Computing Machinery
Published: Oct 4, 2020
Keywords: Electronic textiles
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