Course Description

This seminar investigates creative DIY (do-it-yourself) cultures of hacking, tinkering, and inventive practices from crafts and electronics to digital media production, networked design collaboration, and participatory learning. We examine the pedagogical ideas of critical literacy by Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal; child-centered experiential learning by Jean Piaget; psychology of play and imagination by Vygotsky; constructionist learning by Seymour Papert; and participatory cultures by Henry Jenkins. Students then explore diverse DIY practices as forms of cultural, political or subversive expression, including amateur/pirate radio, punk and rave subcultures, mash-ups, as well as DIY design and open source programming.

We consider the nature of emerging networked DIY communities and maker/hacker spaces, and their role in creating new forms of cultural production, participatory learning, and civic agency. As part of a semester-long project combining theory and practice students are encouraged to investigate (and participate in) a specific DIY community or maker space to develop critical reflection or propose new pedagogical concepts and design platforms that support creative DIY cultures.

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