Making Literacies

Making Literacies

by scientiffic | updated May 23, 2016

Workshop at Making Laboratories COOP 2016



The goal for our Making Laboratories workshop is to design a workshop for makers to share their skills with one another.

  • How you enable people in communicating their skills and what they want to learn (generative workshop)
  • How much should facilitators play a role in pre-screening workshop participants (to ensure a diversity of skills and interests)?
  • How can we facilitate the workshop to enable an exchange of skills (rather than falling back to what participants already know)?

Some assumptions we're making:

We're designing this in a context of a fashion tech workshop.  Half of the participants would have a fashion expertise, and half would be creative technologist.  We imagine it would be about 12 people (with 3 groups of 4, evenly split between fashion and tech backgrounds).

May 23, 2016 at 5:36 AM
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We would use Google Forms and open up the responses so the final group of participants could see each other's responses.

We would want to know the applicants skills and what they are hoping to learn, as well as have an example of a previous project they've worked on to understand their skill level.

Here's a mockup of the application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1j6ys7GG_i1U4i95Oa7bo9jg-YsfjiBAUuOowrXSH9go/viewform

May 23, 2016 at 6:17 AM
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Night 1: People introduce themselves and brainstorm ideas - then they determine the skills they need for these skills


The ice breaker activity would be used as the start of the first workshop for participants to introduce their skills.

Mysterious / Evocative objects: Use an evocative object that gets passed around, each person introduces themselves and their interpretation of the object

Past-project sharing: Each person brings a photo of a project they've previously worked on and adds it to a wall.  One person starts and takes down their photo and describes their past project, then picks another project and that person introduces themselves, and so on.

Favorite objects: Each person brings in an object they especially like and share why they like it.  They then design a project that is a mash up of two products.


The entire group brainstorms concepts and selects the top 3 ideas.  Groups form around the top 3 ideas, evenly split between technologists and fashion designers.

After the skills exchange, workshop organizers should compile a schedule in which different teams can use some of the shared machines in the shop (such as the laser cutter, 3D printer, etc) to avoid overbooking tools.

May 23, 2016 at 6:20 AM
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The first full day of the workshop would be dedicated to participants exchanging skills in the context of their proposed project.

Facilitators should ensure that participants are aware of the time constraints of the workshop and should scope their projects accordingly (creating a scale prototype rather than a complete piece, for example).

Here are some tips we compiled for learners sharing their skills with one another:

Skill Exchange Tips

  • minimize "expert" takeover (hands off from a learner's laptop, screen, etc.)
  • set constraints - use available resources
  • start small and specific and build on top
  • talk aloud while demonstration to make implicit knowledge explicit
  • leave time for exploration & debugging
  • experts should provide resources for learning / debugging / documentation
  • be patient and empathetic 

May 23, 2016 at 9:48 AM
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Participants have the majority of the day to continue working on their project, with an expectation to present wherever their prototypes are at the end of the day.  Final presentations can be working prototypes, a video, or a sketch.

We leave 15 minutes before presentation for participants to fill out a workshop describing the most valuable tips they learned.

These worksheets are shared during the final presentation and compiled by organizers at the conclusion of the workshop to share with everyone, so everyone can learn from each team's experience.

May 23, 2016 at 9:55 AM
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Here's the PDF!

Design Files
May 23, 2016 at 10:58 AM
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