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Antidualisms in maker literacies research: process, materialities, mappings

Pour un antidualisme de recherche sur le mouvement bricoleur en sciences de l’éducation : processus, matérialités et cartographies
Amélie Lemieux
p. 9-21

Résumés

Le présent article porte sur le rôle de la fabrication matérielle, immanente au mouvement bricoleur, comme tremplin à des questions d’ordre ontologique. Ces dernières mettent en lumière la notion d’antidualisme pour envisager les fonctions des matériaux, des humains, des non-humains, et des corps plus qu’humains. Pour ce faire, nous réfléchissons à l’enjeu suivant : (où) la théorie se concrétise-t-elle lorsque les acteurs humains s’adonnent à la fabrication matérielle ? Cette étude s’appuie sur des données recueillies auprès d’enseignants inscrits à un cours sur le mouvement bricoleur du deuxième cycle en littératie à Halifax en Nouvelle-Écosse, et propose des pistes de méthodologies innovantes qui mettent en lumière des moments matério-discursifs grâce à des cartographies affectives. Une approche méthodologique novatrice axée sur la relationalité im/matérielle y est proposée en vue d’effectuer de futures recherches sur le mouvement bricoleur. Cette étude offre un aperçu d’une méthodologie antidualiste dissidente de la pensée binaire en sciences de l’éducation.

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Notes de la rédaction

This research is funded by a New Scholar’s Grant from Mount Saint Vincent University / L’auteure a reçu une subvention Nouveaux Chercheurs de l’Université Mount Saint Vincent pour ce projet.

Texte intégral

Introduction: working towards antidualisms in maker literacies

1This article builds on theoretical and empirical positions to explore alternative methodologies for maker education research and design. It investigates the progressive dimensions of self in relation to making and the world, with specific attention to an expanded and pluriversal notion of engagement in education research (Lemieux, 2020). Maker education is best defined as an educational movement, historically based on constructivism, nurturing learners’ creativity and innovation through hands-on, DIY inquiry-based projects using technology, craft, or both (Peppler et al., 2016). With the many research developments this movement has generated, paired with the exponentially rapid technological rise of Silicon Valley innovations and maker-oriented curricula worldwide, studies have also been concerned with both complexities and affordances inherent to maker education. Such complexities involve researching maker education and its closely related cousin, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), from inclusive, equitable and diverse perspectives in maker education (Ireland et al., 2018; Joseph, 2020; King, 2017; King & Pringle, 2018; Sengupta et al., 2019; Sengupta-Irving & Vossoughi, 2019; Thomas, Howard, & Shaffer, 2019; Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018). Complexities also involve looking at maker activities, such as digital composition and craft-oriented maker compositions, from relational perspectives using posthuman inquiry and affect-laden theories (e.g., Ehret et al., 2016; Keune & Peppler, 2019; Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020a, 2020b; Marsh, 2017; McLean & Rowsell, 2020; Pahl & Rowsell, 2020;Peppler et al., 2020; Rowsell, 2020; Rowsell & Shillitoe, 2019; Sheridan et al., 2020; Thiel & Dernikos, 2020). Much of this work involves disrupting, dismantling, and deconstructing binary frameworks (e.g., “engaged” vs. “disengaged” learners, “productivity” vs. “passivity,” “motivated” vs. “unmotivated” students), and sheds light on larger considerations for dimensional multiplicity in maker education. This article looks at how postqualitative inquiry facilitates that dialogue by working towards antidualisms in maker literacies research drawing on a study where 20 teachers enrolled in a graduate literacy course were called to “think with” (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012) materials and materiality in maker education.

2Drawing on postqualitative ways of knowing through making, this article provides pathways to understand antidualisms, which can be conceptualised as the conscious disruption of traditional binaries in maker literacies. To do so, I explore the following question: What happens when teachers, as adult learners, share relational transactions with materials (i.e., sense-laden socio-material reciprocity) in maker literacies research? Drawing on postqualitative feminist scholarship (Dernikos et al., 2019; Lather, 2016; MacLure, 2013; Ringrose et al., 2019; St. Pierre et al., 2016) and makerspace research geared towards affect theory (Rowsell, 2020; Rowsell & Shillitoe, 2019), this article contributes to overarching conversations by providing research insights that work against dualisms in maker literacies research.

What do we know about maker literacies research for teachers?

3Located in educational spaces such as school libraries and classrooms, makerspaces are communities of practice that focus on the development of youth’s maker literacies (Marsh et al., 2017; Rowsell et al., 2018; Wohlwend et al., 2017) through craft-, technology, or hybrid inquiry-based learning. A large part of antidualist work resides in exploring what is already known in maker literacies research for teachers to see how findings might or might not travel across sites, and explore their ever-changing pluridiversity. To foster maker literacies development, studies have found how design, inclusion, and civics were important features of engagement. In applied maker research centred on the constructivist concepts of effectiveness and productivity, Bower et al. (2018) used reflections, focus groups, lesson observations, video screen recordings, reflective journals, and post-questionnaires to report on Australian primary teachers’ experiences with 3D design and printing. The authors found that makerspace pedagogy facilitated higher levels of learners’ engagement due to design-oriented learning. In a study presenting teacher candidates’ maker research projects from Finland, Norway, and the UK, Marsh, Arnseth, and Kumpulainen (2018) found that makerspaces in early childhood settings (e.g., nurseries and pre-primary classes) created positive environments in which teachers could develop civic engagement and inclusive pedagogy. The two teachers from the pre-primary Finland case study stated that teaching maker literacies in their class was emancipatory for their students. After reading Finnish literature on beliefs around nature, students in the class created their own “spirits of the forest” and composed digital stories about them. The project not only made students feel that their voices were heard (e.g., they chose what they designed and how) but it also heightened their appreciation for, and awareness of, nature. The students then designed an exhibit of their collective art, which was displayed in a public library. The authors developed the human-oriented concept of agency (individual and collective) in students, highlighting that maker activities “transformed the status of the children from a typical position as a consumer of literature and library services into active agents and makers who contributed to the life of the library and its offerings to the community” (Marsh et al., 2018, p. 11). Such observations have, in turn, expanded the focus on the agential roles of children in applied making and specifically makerspaces across research sites.

4Makerspace activities prompted maker citizenship practices because students developed an understanding of one or more of the three key areas of citizenship: rights, belonging, and participation. The latter considerations are central to maker pedagogies in higher education, for they emphasise civic engagement and basic awareness of “what is,” i.e., the mattering—or recognition of significance—that unfolds, in what circumstances, and for what purpose. In tune with discovering “what is” and “what might be” (Ringrose & Coleman, 2013, p. 125), the drive towards affective practices in maker education and postqualitative inquiry is a viable way of considering antidualisms through the knowledge of how materials influence educational research in maker contexts, while still considering (and not erasing) the concept of human identities—a crucial dimension to understanding the human intersectionalities at play—that drive making. To acknowledge the many “what might be’s” in maker education is to acknowledge the pluridiverse complexities of teacher-makers, realities that bring about multiple novelties through teaching or making.

5Recent scholarship has outlined the need to pursue research on maker education in higher education, especially in teacher education programmes internationally (Cohen, 2017; Karppinen, et al., 2019; Marshall & Harron, 2018; Ryu et al., 2019). More training is needed for pre-service and in-service teachers because, from a constructivist perspective, they often lack the confidence, ability, and knowledge to engage with technology-oriented activities (Blackley et al., 2017; Cohen et al., 2018; Kjällander et al., 2018; Otterborn et al., 2019). Testing design in inquiry-based STEAM learning and promoting research-based inquiry for teacher knowledge development are examples that foster educators’ STEAM content knowledge (Vossen et al., 2019). Though makerspaces are increasingly popular in P-12 and postsecondary schools, there appears to be little formal training for teachers who want to explore these spaces (Rodriguez et al., 2018). I address some of challenges through a maker research project with experienced teachers in a graduate course, ultimately leading to the theoretical considerations outlined in this article. The study contributes to the growing body of makerplace research and provide tangible evidence showing how making is a rhizomatic, open-ended, and process-focused activity. Participant map-making is proposed to focus on maker process, allowing makers to see that committing errors should be normalised in maker education to alleviate maker-related anxieties. Map-making helped makers visualise and value their making process, highlighting the realisation that they, along with their students, are likely to experience early frustrations when engaging in new uncharted territory. Frustration is a normal part of the making process, though one that is frequently devalued and punished in schooling systems. Normalising the anxieties inherent to maker activities might help teachers be more prepared to design their own maker events in their classrooms, and bring learners to conceptualise both anxieties and mistakes as normal parts of the process rather than indicators of failure. One way of attending to the normalisation of failure involves critical attention to materialities and design, as outlined in the next section.

Towards antidualisms in maker education for teachers: Critical accounts of materialities and design

  • 1 The Deleuzoguattarian notion of becoming is best described as an everchanging, developing way of b (...)

6Rooted in posthumanism and agential realism (Barad, 2007; Braidotti, 2013), recent maker literacies scholarship has shown how materials play a relational, distributed agency between humans, nonhumans, and more-than-humans (i.e., humanoid, cyborg, or human-augmented technology)—highlighting how makerspace projects, whether conducted with children or teachers, are always permeated with unpredictability that form dynamic becomings1 and relationalities in maker research (Lemieux, 2021; Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020a, 2020b, 2021; Peppler & Keune, 2019; Sheridan et al., 2020). Maker literacies research has shown how anchoring affect theory can be. In studies investigating the stances of adolescents who created self-portraits, affect theory played an important role in shifting perspectives, moving across modalities and dynamically responding to multimodal design (Rowsell, 2020). As Rowsell and Shillitoe (2019) have argued, making always involves design: to consider design in maker processes inherently involves design as an affective quality fo materiality considerations that provide an expansive, non-dualistic view of maker research. Postqualitative inquiries in maker education often lead to interrogative and inquisitive becomings in the form of questions like “can materials choose humans to channel their existence?” (Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020a, p. 7). These types of considerations fuel the centrality of affect and disrupt traditional and binary conceptions of learning.

7Maker literacies are messy and sticky (Rowsell et al., 2018), and findings highlighting youth’s creativity in maker education focus on craftivism with an active recognition and awareness of bodies and affective intensities (Rowsell & Shillitoe, 2019)—that is, the non-representational responsiveness and affectively-charged ontological processes of becoming-with. Specifically, Rowsell and Shillitoe (2019) push us to think about making as an activity that “calls to varying degrees on affective states that surface as stories come to be with people and materials” (p. 15), a disposition that prioritises process over product, and allows for necessary tensions that materialise in “productive puzzles” (Dutro, 2019, p. 76). Affective tensions can occasionally be untangled through language, though not always. For example, some affective states can hardly be described by humans, while the expression of such states might flow easily for some and not others, depending on situational circumstances.

8Posthuman inquiry can privilege relational aesthetics as long as there is central attention to matter, at least in the arts and arts-informed education. To this end, Anna Hickey-Moody (2016) explains how artworks “hold power” as well as “affective potential” (p. 264), and situates how art provokes synergies of change through affective encounters. These notions can be applied to making, a process where makers—whether adolescent or adult—become part of these synergies to produce societal change, especially when partaking in maker design (Ingold, 2013). These synergies result from a call to action towards making. If design exists in the mind of the creator (Ingold, 2013), then following the same logic, makers are de facto designers answering a call to materialise ideas and affects into the world. To be a maker is to be a designer, regardless of whether the title is granted to or associated with the human who makes. These situated affects, unfolding through time, are “miniature universe[s]”, to use Hickey-Moody’s (2016) term, that drive making as an activity. These making activities extend beyond the realm of the linguistic, the analytical, and the cartesian.

9While it can be argued that “language has been granted too much power” (Barad, 2018, p. 223), and representationality can be problematic for many reasons in postqualitative research (MacLure, 2013), the tensions between these theoretical inclinations are meant to be constantly tangled and untangled, territorial and deterritorialized, modelled and remodelled. For example, craft is a catalyst for modalities of personhood, and the concept of personhood is constructed through different affects mobilised through time, space, and place. Making involves a series of mobilised ephemeral actions, and ever-changing moments (Burnett & Merchant, 2020). These create fragile tensions. That is, gestures shift literacies through people’s movements, and these actions are either intentional or unintentional. Classrooms, like the one where my graduate students engaged in making and those where they teach, are layered environments where more-than-human and human forces clash daily. The disposition of fixed materials (e.g., restricted windows, wooden brown doors with commercial handles, projectors, white boards) and movable objects (melamine desks, plastic chairs, pencils, notepads, and so on) creates entanglements where these materials collide with humans. In these socio-material assemblages (Burnett & Merchant, 2020), literacies are situated and shaped by humans, nonhumans, and more-than-humans, ever-changing dynamisms in posthumanism (Braidotti, 2013). They are not simple, individualised performances that are assessed through standardised testing. In this sense, maker literacies are not only situational, but always dependent on, and a result from, plural authorship, in which meaning is always deconstructed, dismantled, rearranged, and territorial (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980) in contextualised (meta)physical learning flows. The theories and interpretations articulated here not only build on those entanglements, but also expand on previous scholarship on material culture and teachers’ abilities to “make” in pedagogical settings, which provided insights into their inclinations towards materials (White & Lemieux, 2015).

10Research avenues taken in this article are influenced by posthumanism, drawing on the body of research explored here. Of importance is a focus on risk-taking in research (antimethodologies) and on ways of disseminating research otherwise. Such risk-taking, an academic restitution for ideas, implies embracing modes that seek to disrupt traditional empirical structures (e.g., introduction, literature review, methods, results, conclusion), to instead radically privilege data deconstruction and reconstruction, as well as inductive ways of being with the data (Kuby, Spector & Thiel, 2018). This work nurtures the concept of antidualisms in maker education research, which I define as the social justice radicalness inherent to making for making’s sake, and researching with the aims of rendering this process alive beyond the traditional literacy frameworks. Posthuman feminist consciousness and work foregrounding PhEMaterialisms (Ringrose et al., 2019) are useful here. A PhEMaterialist perspective is concerned with dissolving binary logic, attending to what data produce, considering the politics of ethics, as well as critically looking at positionalities within education research (Ringrose & Niccolini, 2019). This approach is particularly useful in antidualist research, for it generates ways of reconceptualising notions, like maker education activities (and the affects these activities provoke and generate), as becomings.

  • 2 A note on Deleuze and Guattari’s Mille Plateaux as interpreted by Massumi in his A Thousand Platea (...)

11Working with materials in maker education, I co-researched how materials exerted a relational autonomy between humans, nonhumans, and more-than-humans, and simultaneously operated as entangled matter (Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020a, 2020b, 2021; Sheridan et al., 2020). In so doing, I had to revisit both Deleuze and Guattari’s (1980) Mille Plateaux and Massumi’s subsequent translation2, not only as a comparative reading act, but as a clarifying one. While I can dissociate the languages and the authors’ voices in each language (that is, when reading the translated English version, I am engaging with Massumi’s (1987) interpretation and rendition of Deleuze and Guattari and not the “original voices” in French), this unfolding assemblage matters because the entanglements between voice-text-researcher-reading-writing-thinking is mediated by two texts instead of one, thus diffracting matter and territorialising it at the same time. In other words, I adopt a diffracted view of these concepts, paired with a PhEmaterialist outlook that Ringrose, Warfield and Zarabadi (2019) offer, to get at the nuanced intra-actions of in-service teachers making projects that matter to them and their students. Mattering is concerned with phenomena that acquire meaning and materialise through agential possibilities that are ever-changing, unpredictable, yet dynamically networked (Barad, 2007). These complexities shed light on the nature of antidualisms; where knowing involves being, at times and sporadically, conscious of mattering, and whereby mattering is an infinite, unfolding process of materialisation of phenomena. An antidualist approach acknowledges this positionality in entering reading and writing as scholarship activities; to revisit texts and their translations is to recognise (re-cognise, or to continuously engage in knowing) pluriperspectives in literacies research.

12Because qualitative research has academically conditioned researchers to produce sense-making, I engaged in silencing the impulse to define and explain data with such wording as ‘the data makes sense.’ As part of my praxis for writing this text, I replaced many seemingly representational words (e.g., capture, track, interpret) with more flexible, open-ended ones that reflect mattering. I watched things unfold as I wrote the article. This helped me shift my thinking of theory as I decentred myself when conceptualising how to convey research with these considerations in mind. Part of this process is accounting for an “entanglement, a knot of forces and intensities that operate on a plane of immanence… an enactment among researcher-data-participants-theory-analysis” (Mazzei, 2013, p. 736). Decentring the reflexive and assumed human-centric “eye/I” was also instrumental in that process (Lenz Taguchi, 2013; Ringrose & Zarabadi, 2018) as it required staying entangled and close to that which is imbued with meaning, to that which matters. Foregrounding that perception is a very human condition that needs to be constantly decentred or dampened, and one way to write with ontological responsibility includes providing data multiplicity. Viewing transcripts ↔ researcher ↔ discussion ↔ data ↔ participants as forces colliding (Mazzei, 2013), the driving ethos for this inquiry was embracing the unpredictable in research while attempting to both comfort and disrupt the unknown. Looking and pausing with data, taking breaks from theory, walking around my neighbourhood to think with ideas—such actions push researchers to be vulnerable in posthuman inquiry. Documenting this process through pictures (Figure 1) is an attempt to portray the atmosphere inherent to a process of thinking with theory and which is often hidden or effaced by the editorial process of writing and analysing data.

Figure 1. Writing and thinking with theory

Figure 1. Writing and thinking with theory
  • 3 The initial map-making process involved teachers noting down their reactions as they were making, (...)

13After taking this photo, I took a walk in the rain towards Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Six days passed between the moment I took this picture and the time I wrote this paragraph. Fifteen more days passed before I reworked the sentences. This brief acknowledgement of process and time, long embraced by reflexivity in methods, is suspended in spaces, places, and materials. Moving away from interpreting interview transcripts as data and working towards what agential realism (Barad, 2007) affords, the following sections find ways to account for affective rushes, surges, and fluctuating waves through more-than-representations through the materiality of paper or the word processing software. In so doing, photographs are intertwined with conversation excerpts and snapshots of a MakerMap, as ways to bend the stillness of publication and extend thinking with research methods. While the map-making3 process followed a tighter framework in the mapping continuum developed with literacy colleagues elsewhere (Lemieux et al., 2020), the following postqualitative assemblage focuses on rethinking methodologies to present maker processes and the in-betweens of what happens when teachers make, in ways that question structural thought, logical prediction, and determinism.

Thinking with theory and gearing towards a non-method in maker research

14Antimethodologies align with research that articulates the disruption of traditional qualitative methodologies centred on the human cogito and subject/object binaries (St. Pierre, 2016). Working towards antidualisms implies resisting traditional humanistic methodologies that “strangle” us, St. Pierre maintains, by radically acknowledging how qualitative research, through its structural organisation, has not given space to—or rather has dismissed—the value of postqualitative inquiry. According to St. Pierre, philosophical considerations should precede any type of postqualitative inquiry, for to omit this is to “reduce inquiry to conventional empirical scientific method that is saturated through and through with the humanist subject and, in large part, with logical empiricism, which denies the speculative, exactly what these new turns ask us to engage” (p. 28). These “new” turns call postqualitative researchers to engage with the speculative, as is exemplified here with maker research.

15Embracing antidualisms does not disqualify nor reject the integration of key research aspects (e.g., location, situatedness, initial map-making, demographics, and ethnographic-laden information). To provide more context, this research project took place in fall 2018 in a graduate literacy course that I taught at Mount Saint Vincent University, in Canada. Half of the 20 students were primary in-service teachers, and the other half ranged from learning centre specialists to secondary school teachers and international students pursuing a graduate degree in literacy education. Their coursework comprised of readings on maker literacies, and the research portion of the course spanned over five weeks. In groups of two to three, they were asked to design an Activity Development Plan, produce a maker project, and share their work with their peers at the end of the course. The objective was for each teacher to leave the class with a maker toolkit and examples of activities and lesson plans to explore with their own students. Teachers had the liberty to engage in material, digital, or hybrid making. Material making is defined as the process of crafting with found, recycled, or store-bought materials, while digital making can only be produced through software ↔ hardware play. I refer to hybrid making as the playful back and forth entanglements between the tangible (material) and the intangible (digital).

16The making process included drawing a map based on a previously researched mapping methodology seeking to record moment-by-moment reactions to a phenomenon (Lemieux, 2020; 2021), this one being making. These maps are geared towards non-descriptive phenomenology (Valentine et al., 2018) with an emphasis on participants’ processes of making to convey matter related to their feelings, ideas, and reflections towards making as a pedagogical activity. Vagle (2018) explains that phenomenology and post-structural inquiry are closer to each other than they appear, and these maps build on post-intentional phenomenology momentum through reported states of making. Therefore, these maps are simulations of the post-intentional phenomenological experiences that they represent to exemplify presence and absence of felt experiences as recorded by the students in this group. While there can be clashes between postqualitative inquiry and phenomenology, there is much value in considering how postqualitative frameworks have inherited the ghosts of humanism (Dernikos et al., 2019) and it is our responsibility to account for these tensions.

Thinking while/as making

17Drawing on the glowing-ness salient instead of data moments (MacLure, 2013; Ringrose & Renold, 2014), that is, what affectively radiates and emanates from data, and recognising that there is indeed a fluidity in determining the researcher’s affect from that of the classroom’s, what ensues in the next section is an engagement with the entanglements between data ↔ participants ↔ researchers ↔ transcripts ↔ writing. One way of converying this work towards antidualisms was to weave in transcript excerpts as captions for the pictures of teachers making (shown below) and the captions for one of their maps. Thus, shape and form are seen as expressions of craft gestures (Ingold & Hallam, 2014), and the collaborative movements below (Figures 2-6) exemplify small “eclosions”—that is, moments where making “bloomed” in the makerspace. It was important to record stills of the research project in order to convey process and to capture atmospheres en devenir. The purpose of proceeding this way echoes Ingold and Hallam’s (2014) rationale for making things, which “often feels like telling stories, and as with all stories, though you may pick up the thread and eventually cast it off, the thread itself has no discernible beginning or end” (p. 13). This open disposition further speaks to concrete pedagogical and research applications of the intersections between literacies and the arts (Barton, 2018; Barton et al., 2018; Chabanne, 2018; Richard & Lacelle, 2020; Rowsell, 2018).

18The exploration of processes shown through the multiplicity of data below (Lenz Taguchi, 2013) is meant to be read as a non-linear story informed by relational entanglements. As such, the transcript excerpts come from two of the teachers pictured below, and the map was produced by a third teacher. This is a deliberate attempt to engage in mattering rather than sense-making, and conveying the entanglements between teachers ↔ pictures ↔ maps ↔ craft ↔ researcher ↔ readership. Thinking with these entanglements in the larger assemblage, what comes next is not meant to identify who-said-what nor who-did-what (this would defeat the purpose), but rather to inter-act and intra-act with how making came to be in that classroom. The figure captions are excerpts from interviews conducted with the teachers who participated in this specific maker activity.

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

“Just like offering more choice in how you assess them and maybe, you know, doing the interview instead of doing like paper and pencil or getting them to build or make or other ways to show what they’ve been learning.”

Figure 3.

Figure 3.

“Like I personally always like building stuff with my hands but it’s not something that I do very often because I don’t have necessarily like a job that has a lot of hands-on and creative parts and even at home, I think it’s ‘cause like I have kids and it’s busy, like I don’t create. So then when I do get opportunities to create I find myself really enjoying them and thinking I should do this more.”

Figure 4.

Figure 4.

“Usually just to kind of explore more like what you enjoyed or like you know what I mean, instead of just going, oh, I enjoyed it kind of seeing the process and what parts, like it just helps you dig deeper into what you really got out of the project I guess like for me. Like exploring like my feelings and my thoughts around certain things… So being able to look at my thoughts throughout the process most of them are positive. But it’s getting that extra stuff with reflection I guess.”

Figure 5.

Figure 5.

“When I think about my MakerMap I kind of think about, well my MakerMap was mostly emotional which I thought was interesting in the end. But I think it, like there were parts of it that were uncomfortable but the whole time when I was experiencing that I was thinking about how this is what we ask kids to do every day. You know, we ask them to take risks in their learning and do all these things that are uncomfortable for them and we sort of like push them when we don’t, sometimes we don’t understand why it’s uncomfortable for them, I think, but then going through this, I’m like, oh, this is what it feels like. I guess it kind of puts you in your student’s shoes in a way and it sort of gave me perspective on like how they would feel in the classroom.”

Figure 6.

Figure 6.

“I think it’s just kind of looking more deeply at like what we think, or maybe more broadly at what we think literacy is. Like that’s kind of been in the back of my mind, this throughout a couple of classes now but it’s just like thinking about it differently and not so much like, oh, if you can read and write you’re a literate person, you know. Like thinking about it in terms of, like all this stuff we’ve been talking about like gaming and like the way kids can navigate through things that we, like I have no idea about, you know. Like that makes them so much, like they get so much from that that they might not get from reading and writing. So if you’re only exposing them to one thing, it’s kind of a disservice to them, I think.”

Ruminating with entanglements

19Making, as an activity oriented towards crafting, extends the finite realm (Ingold & Hallam, 2014) where threads and stories have no beginning nor ends. The multiplicity of examples shown above reveal maker processes through the entanglements of photographs, mapping, and transcribed conversations. Rather than pointing to what this weaving of data tells, this article highlights relational snapshots of what happens in the making process (Lemieux, 2021; Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020a, 2020b, 2021). One of the takeaways—seen throughout the project and across groups—is teachers’ ruminations on what it feels like to make, with spurs of puzzlement, satisfaction, reworking, time consumption, excitement, enjoyment, and anxiety. These entanglements guide humans to take the pulse of what happens in maker literacies research and, more importantly, what they produce. Similarly to Bower et al. (2018), this project draws on the importance of providing teachers with opportunities to do hands-on making, and enough time to speculatively experiment and be uncomfortable with making, especially with thoughtful consideration for maker processes and affectively-oriented awareness of what entanglements with materials produce. These dispositions, necessarily, clash with the stress-inducing time structure of the traditional classroom and suggest how a focus on matter and mattering help people alleviate maker-related anxieties. Researchers need more ways to invite speculative philosophies in education research. Such postqualitative practices might shed light on the intra-actions embedded in making while giving participants an opportunity to think with theory. In turn, research projects with teachers that focus on learning and practice development highly benefit from being conceptualised as complex and dynamic situations (Strom & Viesca, 2020). This article provides some answers to this emerging gap in the field, following the example of in-service teachers who were asked to engage with maker education theories and craft material, hybrid, and digital artefacts while attending to maker experiences through mapping.

20The experience of leaving the mattering of data, thoughts, and processes from this study up to readers’ felt interpretations, and the intentional break from traditional qualitative data representation, have informed some alternative possibilities for dissemination. Fluid forms of sharing scholarship, such as Dernikos, Ferguson and Siegel’s (2019) conversations intertwined with iMessage icons or Kuby’s (2018) propositions on font and layout play in posthuman research, open up possibilities for postqualitative research where theoretical tensions might emerge but also reconcile. Makerspace research and projects on mapping would benefit from that fluidity and space to think with theory (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012), for these dynamic forms of dissemination contribute to de-territorializing research frameworks. For example, a posthuman rendering of the plural nature and purposes of makerspaces (libraries, museums, faculty discipline-focused makerspaces, school-based makerspaces) would be a valuable area of investigation to further understand the implications of making for learning. Such a perspective, then, does not seek to mark an ontological gap between thinking, making, and producing. Theory becomes indiscernible from the form through which it is expressed and, reciprocally, making becomes thinking with the organs and organisms that allow the assemblages of making to come to life. The deconstructing of data in this form gives way to the legitimacy of the entanglements between words ↔ reader ↔ reviewer ↔ author ↔ readership. If we go beyond the restrictive conventions of text to look at the possibilities of posthuman dissemination (Kuby, 2018; MacLure, 2016), looking at data from a distance might allow research to breathe, to live on its own, thus opening expanding possibilities for understandings of that which matters in maker literacies research.

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Notes

1 The Deleuzoguattarian notion of becoming is best described as an everchanging, developing way of being with that resembles a relational constellation of influencing parts. Becoming involves deterritorializations and reterritorialization of pieces of assemblages, constantly in flux.

2 A note on Deleuze and Guattari’s Mille Plateaux as interpreted by Massumi in his A Thousand Plateaus translation: seeing as postqualitative reflexive inquiry requires an awareness of one’s own linguistic capacities at the rhetorical level, readers should be aware that my background in Translation Studies influence my intra-actions (Barad, 2007) with Massumi’s translation and the “original” text. I see both texts as complimentary, as opposed to seeing them as equivalents or as mutually exclusive interpretations.

3 The initial map-making process involved teachers noting down their reactions as they were making, attributing a level of intensity to each reaction, naming their reactions in larger thematic categories the researcher has previously developed based on over ten years of research (White & Lemieux, 2017; Lemieux, 2020, 2021). The categories could be negociated and renamed, and were not supervised by the researcher (no arbitration of reaction-category evaluation was conducted), and the participants had full control of the process outcome. Each bubble contained a reaction, each category was colour-coded, and each reaction was summarized in a bubble. The bubble size was determined by the participants’ attribution of the level of intensity towards each reaction.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Writing and thinking with theory
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-1.jpg
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Titre Figure 2.
Légende “Just like offering more choice in how you assess them and maybe, you know, doing the interview instead of doing like paper and pencil or getting them to build or make or other ways to show what they’ve been learning.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-2.jpg
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Titre Figure 3.
Légende “Like I personally always like building stuff with my hands but it’s not something that I do very often because I don’t have necessarily like a job that has a lot of hands-on and creative parts and even at home, I think it’s ‘cause like I have kids and it’s busy, like I don’t create. So then when I do get opportunities to create I find myself really enjoying them and thinking I should do this more.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 670k
Titre Figure 4.
Légende “Usually just to kind of explore more like what you enjoyed or like you know what I mean, instead of just going, oh, I enjoyed it kind of seeing the process and what parts, like it just helps you dig deeper into what you really got out of the project I guess like for me. Like exploring like my feelings and my thoughts around certain things… So being able to look at my thoughts throughout the process most of them are positive. But it’s getting that extra stuff with reflection I guess.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-4.jpg
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Titre Figure 5.
Légende “When I think about my MakerMap I kind of think about, well my MakerMap was mostly emotional which I thought was interesting in the end. But I think it, like there were parts of it that were uncomfortable but the whole time when I was experiencing that I was thinking about how this is what we ask kids to do every day. You know, we ask them to take risks in their learning and do all these things that are uncomfortable for them and we sort of like push them when we don’t, sometimes we don’t understand why it’s uncomfortable for them, I think, but then going through this, I’m like, oh, this is what it feels like. I guess it kind of puts you in your student’s shoes in a way and it sort of gave me perspective on like how they would feel in the classroom.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-5.jpg
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Titre Figure 6.
Légende “I think it’s just kind of looking more deeply at like what we think, or maybe more broadly at what we think literacy is. Like that’s kind of been in the back of my mind, this throughout a couple of classes now but it’s just like thinking about it differently and not so much like, oh, if you can read and write you’re a literate person, you know. Like thinking about it in terms of, like all this stuff we’ve been talking about like gaming and like the way kids can navigate through things that we, like I have no idea about, you know. Like that makes them so much, like they get so much from that that they might not get from reading and writing. So if you’re only exposing them to one thing, it’s kind of a disservice to them, I think.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/docannexe/image/7996/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 684k
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Amélie Lemieux, « Antidualisms in maker literacies research: process, materialities, mappings »Éducation et didactique, 15-1 | 2021, 9-21.

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Amélie Lemieux, « Antidualisms in maker literacies research: process, materialities, mappings »Éducation et didactique [En ligne], 15-1 | 2021, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2023, consulté le 07 février 2023. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/educationdidactique/7996 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/educationdidactique.7996

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Amélie Lemieux

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University. Identifiant ORCID : 0000-0002-0701-4638

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