ISTE 2019 Workshop

Explore teaching electronics in a craft context. Learn to combine materials, such as paper, felt and cardboard, with tools including paper circuits, sewable circuits and micro:bit to create compelling art projects. We'll share open-source resources, activities and examples will be shared as participants create three craft tech projects. View full session details on the ISTE 2019 conference website.

We will be utilizing Microsoft's MakeCode environment, an online programming interface for the BBC micro:bit which can be accessed through a browser with internet access.

Saturday, June 22, 8:30–11:30 am
Location: 118B

Session Objectives:

1. Build an understanding of basic circuit design and function through creating craft electronic projects.

2. Learn how instructors are encouraging students to craft and create artful, working electronic prototypes using open source resources.

3. Gain confidence in incorporating craft electronics into a classroom or learning space with success and troubleshooting tips.

Participants will leave the workshop with three sample projects created during the workshop and tools to help them implement these projects in their learning spaces. We will address how to scale these sample projects up to more complex extension activities for additional learning objectives. Each participant will also have access to open source resources, including downloadable templates and presentations.


This workshop is divided into 3 hands-on sessions with an introduction presentation and follow-up discussion and open crafting time.

Introduction to maker technologies (15 minutes): What are other educators doing with craft technologies? How does differ from traditional electronics education (breadboard, soldering, robotics). Examples of student projects and hardware materials options will be shown and discussed.

Session 1 - Introduction to Paper Circuits (30 minutes):

Learn the basics of an electronic circuit while creating a light up greeting card using copper tape and circuit stickers. Opportunities for followup projects and alternative materials will be discussed.

Session 2 - Exploring E-Textiles (60 minutes):

Build a light up plush with a pre-programmed LilyTiny microcontroller. Experience how sewing with conductive thread can provide an alternative entry point to learn electronic concepts. Concepts covered: parallel circuits, microcontrollers, and planning/prototyping soft circuits with alligator clips before sewing a project together.

Session 3 - Crafting with micro:bit (60 minutes): 
Gain hands-on experience with programming using the popular BBC micro:bit platform and Microsoft Makecode. We will explore programming concepts first through controlling blinking LEDs with a button press, then advance to using the board's built-in light sensor to create a shadowbox night light with cardboard, wax paper, and construction paper. Tips for planning a programming lesson and building resources will be provided for future exploration.

Project Brainstorming, Discussion, and Q&A (15 minutes):
How can we combine these three types of crafting into a progression of activities for the classroom?

Workshop Resources and Downloads

Worksheet and template Downloads available on Google Drive