Creative Soft Circuits:
Introducing Soft Circuits Kits As A Tool To Engage Children Into Educational Arts And Crafts
2nd International Conference Art, Illustration and Visual Culture in Infant and Primary Education: Creative processes and childhood-oriented cultural discourses. Aveiro, 2012
In this paper the author describes how a soft circuit kit, that she has been designing as an arts and crafts educational tool for children, provides new and alternative avenues for creative expression. Soft circuits are wiring options created using soft and flexible conductive materials, such as conductive fabrics, threads or paints in conjunction with simple electronic components. These new wiring options eliminate the need for soldering, and enables the possibility to easily teach children hands-on activities about how to incorporate simple circuitry into a variety of materials such as cardboard and paper. The paper’s author is an artist, teacher and practitioner, whose studies emphasize reflection relating to new tools and techniques for combining technology and art. She has been co-teaching the “Collaboration Studio: Soft Circuits” which focuses on an innovative way of introducing hardware design and electronics to artists and designers within an educational setting. Also, she is an active collaborator in the MFA Design + Technology program in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design in New York.
Throughout this paper are some examples of how children could benefit from these engaging learning experiences using this interdisciplinary approach. This approach emphasizes the generative aspect of art expression, as well as a playcentric approach to understanding and utilizing electronics. At the conclusion of this paper is an outlined one-day workshop taught by the author during the Maker Faire New York 2011 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Maker Faire is an annual event created by Make magazine to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset