You are on page 1of 2

Julie Steinberg

April 8, 2015
A&HA 4078
Journal # 9
Exploring Digital Materials
Response to In-Class Exploration
One of the greatest takeaways from this weeks exploration of digital materials with guest
teacher, Sean Justice, was the idea that, just as we play with art materials such as clay and paint,
we can play with electronic materials to explore them, too. Just as with art materials, when one
interacts with something new, she needs to establish a relationship with it. Though many of us
had interacted with electronics as children, and of course, interact with electronics in our daily
lives now, I had never thought about my relationship with electronics in this way.
In the first exploration, we discovered how to create light with a battery, paper clips and a
light bulb. I have done this experiment more than once in the past, but this time it was presented
to us just the same as our other explorationsas playing with materials. When we reflected
together on the experience as a class, we discussed how this kind of exploration and activity
builds the sense of wonder. Engaging with the electronics in the way we did involves looking
closely, asking questioning, and wondering. As teachers, our ultimate goal should be to engage
children in a question they want to investigate and wonder about. So then our challenge is, how
do we make these self-directed wonderings available to children? The electronics exploration
was an example of a way to use simple materials in an open environment, resulting in full
engagement and wonder.
Our next exploration with the LED lights was a bit different. In the first activity, though
we knew what the objective was from our own background knowledge about light bulbs, it was
never stated. Sean never said, make this bulb light up. The exploration was goal oriented

because we made it that way, but not because of any assignment. The LED light exploration was
more targeted. We were told to make the bulb light up, make it not light up, and figure out why
this happened. When we discussed how much more challenging the first exploration was than the
second, Sean responded, More difficult things make wonder more available.
Finally we made electric origamione of the ways paper and electronics can come
together, with an open-ended relationship. I think this kind of activity can show children that
electronics, a material that is all around us, can be explored creatively, integrated in art, and
thought about in new ways. Through making electric origami, and the whole class experience in
general, my mind was opened. By bringing these ideas into my classroom, Id hope to stretch my
students thinking in the same way.
Curriculum Ideas for Digital Materials
Because I found the electric origami activity we did in class to be both engaging and
valuable, I would use it in my classroom as an integrated science and art exploration. Through
the use of paper, coin batteries, and LED light bulbs, students will explore electricity and how it
can enhance an artwork. Students will choose which origami animal to construct, as well as
where to place the battery and LED light(s) to create their electronic origami. While this activity
and objective fits nicely into science curriculum, as it relates directly to the topic of electricity, I
can also imagine asking students to respond to a text or illustrate their writing with electric
origami, perhaps with a shared text, allowing them to make similar choices about what to create
through the paper and how to enhance the work with light.