How to research stuff by making

About learning by doing by Selby Gildemacher

Technology is omnipresent in our physical and digital lives. It is something we heavily depend and rely on. Often it is a mystery how technology is functioning and why it is working like it does; a black box with magic inside. To get a starting point and deeper understanding of qualities and disadvantages of technology, we urged the particpants to open the box, look inside it, rummage through it or even make our own box.

Each day of the summer academy was carefully programmed and structured with workshops, experimentation, and learning. During the workshops the participants were challenged to use and push the boundaries of existing technology and programming platforms (web, hardware, software), networks online/offline (internet, peer 2 peer, beacons), and user experience (apps, web, installations, sensory organs), all in a practical manner.

Following this article you will find a selection of workshop outcomes and other materials produced by HDSA2015 particpants. Those results demonstrate the hands-on and process-based approach of the program and participants who embraced the challenges that come with making as opposed to talking.

Thus making and learning by doing challenges us to:

  • experiment
  • do research
  • demystify
  • critically observe
  • play
  • form an opinion
  • share knowledge
  • transform a user into a maker
  • use technology in ways it was not intended for
  • understand the magic


  • Do it yourself, also known as DIY, is the method of building, modifying, or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals. Academic research describes DIY as behaviors where "individuals engage raw and semi-raw materials and component parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions.


  • Do it together, also known as DIT, to collaborate and challenging traditional methods of creative productions, embracing collaborative working and promoting non-monetized and open-source values.

! Work It
! Make It
! Do It