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Textile Messages

Dispatches From the World of E-Textiles and Education

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Edited By Leah Buechley, Kylie Peppler, Michael Eisenberg and Yasmin Kafai

Textile Messages focuses on the emerging field of electronic textiles, or e-textiles – computers that can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful. E-textiles are articles of clothing, home furnishings, or architectures that include embedded computational and electronic elements. This book introduces a collection of tools that enable novices – including educators, hobbyists, and youth designers – to create and learn with e-textiles. It then examines how these tools are reshaping technology education – and DIY practices – across the K-16 spectrum, presenting examples of the ways educators, researchers, designers, and young people are employing them to build new technology, new curricula, and new creative communities.

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Preface

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AnneMarie Thomas xOver the past few years, the maker movement has grown and flourished. The in- clusiveness of this community—open to anyone who makes something, anything– has allowed for the gathering, both online and in person, of individuals with a di- versity of interests and skills who are brought together by their common passion for creating, and sharing their processes and results. At the heart of making are the ideas of play, collaboration, personalization, and learning from each other, which have led to unexpected technologies and applications that cross disciplinary boundaries. The e-textile community, with its incredible diversity of participants and ideas, is a thriv- ing component of the maker movement. One of the truly exciting aspects of the momentum around e-textiles is their ap- peal to individuals, particularly children and youth who have little to no prior back- ground, or interest, in electronics. Electronic technology plays a large role in our day- to-day lives, but few people understand how their devices and gadgets work or have tried to create their own. As a society that depends on, and is proud of, innovation and the creation of new things, it is essential that we work to instill in children the idea that they can be creators, not just consumers. As is evidenced by many of the stories that follow, e-textiles are proving to be effective at accomplishing this goal. In- terestingly, while there is much discussion of how e-textiles are a way of introducing children to electronics, these materials...

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