Stitching Codeable Circuits: High School Students’ Learning about Circuitry and Coding with Electronic Textiles

Learning about circuitry by connecting a battery, light bulb, and wires is a common activity in many science classrooms. In this paper, we expand students’ learning about circuitry with electronic textiles, which use conductive thread instead of wires and sewable LEDs instead of lightbulbs, by integrating programming sensor inputs and light outputs and examining how the two domains interact. We implemented an electronic textiles unit with 23 high school students ages 16–17 years who learned how to craft and code circuits with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit. Our analyses not only confirm significant increases in students’ understanding of functional circuits but also showcase students’ ability in designing and remixing program code for controlling circuits. In our discussion, we address opportunities and challenges of introducing codeable circuit design for integrating maker activities that include engineering and computing into classrooms.

Litts, B. K., Kafai, Y.B., Lui, D.A., Walker, J.T., & Widman, S.A. (2017). Stitching Codeable Circuits: High School Students’ Learning about Circuitry and Coding with Electronic Textiles. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 26 (5), 494-507.