Personally Meaningful Design : Sound Making to Foster Engineering Practices with Artifacts from Home

Santiago Hurtado, Teemu Leinonen, Anna Keune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Early engineering experiences can provide young people with experiences that can contribute to developing longer-term interest in the field and addressing dropout issues faced in engineering internationally. One way to engage young people with engineering is through the creation of personally meaningful sound-making projects with everyday materials and electronic kits. Sound making can make it possible for people to connect to their personal experiences and to represent these personal experiences through artistic means while also performing engineering practices, like asking questions, defining and delimiting problems, and developing and optimizing solutions with physical materials that produce sounds. Such design processes are referred to as engaging in the design of personally meaningful projects. However, it remains underspecified what personally meaningful means and, therefore, what aspects to integrate into engineering educational activity and technology designs to foster personally meaningful design opportunities. Building on constructionist perspectives on learning, this qualitative research investigated engineering practices as middle-school-aged youth used electronic construction kits and personal tangible material objects to create sounds. Iterative and thematic analysis of engineering practices of semi-structured interviews and video-recorded youth workshops showed that sound making with personal objects and electronic construction kits is a context for engineering design practices. This study also showed that integrating personal tangible projects that materialize personal histories can foster engineering practices. The findings contribute to our understanding of the theoretical idea of personally meaningful design in constructionism by presenting the importance of integrating personal histories through the design of personal projects with tangible material objects of a person’s life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14962
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Construction kits
  • Constructionism
  • Engineering learning
  • Sound


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