The goal of the project Makers a les Aules was to provide teaching support in STEAM related educational activities. Within this project, I organised and facilitated workshops in several public primary schools in Barcelona.

In one of the projects, I focused on the exploration of design techniques for children to create a space for dialogue and reflection upon gender stereotypes and to guide the students in the design of preliminary prototypes of genderless interactive toys. The design goal was motivated by an ongoing school project in collaboration with the local Museum Frederic Marès in which the students participated in educational activities that focused on the change of social roles and values of toys across different generations. 

The students went through an iterative design process, starting with reflections on gender stereotypes of toys and using digital fabrication tools to prototype alternative design ideas for genderless toys.

Finally, the students proposed six ideas for interactive genderless toys: (1) a puzzle in format of a hologram; (2) a frisbee with three functions (a) ordinary function, b) tele-transporter for people or food, c) transformation from frisbee to trampoline); (3) a robot that transforms into a cinema seat, provides the spectator with popcorn, orange juice and projects the movie onto a wall; (4) antigravity boots; (5) a spider web pistole that allows the children climbing up walls and (6) a magical rope that transforms into different objects (e.g. a bicycle).

The project  was presented in September 2021 in the workshop series Me­thods, Theo­ries, and Ta­king Ac­tion through Gen­der and Fe­mi­nis­ms in Hu­man-Com­pu­ter In­ter­ac­tion (HCI). Specifically, in Event 3 about Learning Methods, I presented this study with the focus on “Design Techniques to promote gender literacy in digital fabrication with primary school students” and facilitated a challenge on Designing Interactive Genderless Toys (Instructions can be found here).

Further, in an international research article, I present an educational approach, inspired by transformative feminist pedagogy, to support students in their reflection upon gender stereotypes in the making process and guidelines for teachers to integrate these strategies into their educational practices.

Related Publication

Marie-Monique Schaper. (2024). Gender literacy through the making process: A feminist pedagogy approach. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.