Creative coding in Käsityökoulu Robotti (art & craft school Robotti)


Tomi Dufva, Aalto-University, the school of Arts, Design and Architecture, department of art. Finland

Keywords: Maker movement, commons, peer production, peer learning, art +tech, education, art education, craft education, media education, critical thinking, critical technology education

This article takes a look at Käsityökoulu Robotti (www.kasityokoulurobotti.fi), an art & craft school, type of hackerspace for children, which is offering teaching on art and technology for children and youth. Käsityökoulu Robotti situates itself in the context of the maker movement, critical technology education, peer production and commons thinking. Art education is essential to Käsityökoulu Robotti in a bilateral sense: to discover in which ways art can be used to create understanding in technology and at the same time to teach children to use new technological tools as a way for self-expression. These questions are intertwined: technology, such as code, can be an important way to express oneself in a way that otherwise couldn’t be expressed and at the same time using artistic approaches such as creative coding can generate embodied knowledge of technology. This is exceptionally important when dealing with the everincreasing digitalization of our society, as it otherwise may present itself as abstract and even magical or mystical. The article examines how does creative coding work as a teaching method in Käsityökoulu Robotti and how does it promote both the artistic expression and critical understanding in technology. Creative coding is a tool for bridging the cap between maker movement, critical thinking, art practices and commons-based ideologies. The research uses ethnographical analysis and interviews with teachers and students in art & craft school Robotti. The outcomes are then compared to a larger national framework though Luma centres StarT-project (http://www.luma.fi/start-en/), that focuses on finding ways to teach art & sciences to students.